There’s a new trend in criminal prosecution that is making life difficult for defense attorneys and their clients. The issue is best described with an example. Back in 1998, a father violently shook his infant son. The boy survived for 20 years, but died in 2018 from injuries he suffered as a child. Now his father has been arrested for murder.
The Missouri man, Olin Tannery, served time for his assault of his son. The 39-year-old from Excelsior Springs shook and squeezed Dominick Pittsenbarger in 1998. The child was just 6-weeks-old at the time.
Pittsenbarger died this year from complications resulting from that attack. Now, two decades after the incident, he has been indicted.
Tannery pleaded guilty to the first degree assault charges and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. As Pittsenbarger had survived the assault, Tannery wasn’t charged with anything associated with murder. He was released from prison in 2007.
“The baby had suffered rib fractures, a fractured vertebra, subdural bleeding and head injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome,” Fox writes. “Doctors predicted he would not survive.”
The child did survive. He suffered brain damage, though. His mother gave him up for adoption. The boy was later adopted by Wendell Pittsenbarger, a veteran who lost a leg in Vietnam. Wendell has adopted two boys.
Despite his stable upbringing, Dominick’s life was never the same. He was dependent on a wheelchair. His adoptive family ensured he had opportunities, and the boy even attended school and graduated in 2017.
Yet his injuries had never fully healed and he passed in April.
“I love that boy and still miss him dearly. I think about him all of the time,” his adoptive father told reporters.
As a result of his actions and the resulting consequences, Tannery has now been indicted on second-degree murder charges.
Despite having served time for the assault, he now will serve time for the new charges. He is currently in the custody of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and is expected to enter a plea Friday.