O'Neill man found guilty of child abuse
O'NEILL, Neb. -- An O'Neill man was found guilty of child abuse resulting in death last Monday.
On Nov. 21, John T. Applegarth was found guilty after pleading no contest for attempted child abuse resulting in the death of his 13-month-old child on July 7, 2021.
Applegarth has been sentenced to 30-40 years in prison with credit served for 463 days on the felony charge.
To be eligible for parole, Applegarth is required to serve 15 years while maintaining good time.
Court documents said the death of the infant was caused by a blunt force injury to his head, neck and torso. Applegarth had claimed the infant's injuries were caused by a fall from a crib, but the court said these types of injuries were not consistent with a fall from a crib or down steps.
The court said the only provocation that Applegarth had to harming the child was his dissatisfaction with having to watch the child while the child's mother was at work.
It was reported that police officers were called to a home in O'Neill on July 6, 2021 at 6:40 a.m., where they found the mother of the child giving him CPR in front of the home.
The infant was then taken to a local hospital and later flown to an Omaha hospital after being determined to be critically ill.
The first doctor was reported to believe the injuries were consistent with child abuse. At the Omaha hospital, it was determined that he had significant brain damage.
The mother worked shifts over the night from July 5 to July 6 at McDonald's, during which time Applegarth was taking care of the child.
She reported that the infant was teething and was a little cranky. She thought he might be getting an ear infection and was planning to take him to the doctor on July 6.
When she got home, Applegarth told her that the infant had fallen out of his crib. She reportedly checked the child's pupils and he appeared fine, planning to mention it when she took him to the doctor on the 6th.
When she got home from her third shift, she said he was in his crib and didn't go all the way into the room.
After waking the next morning, the mother said that Applegarth woke her saying something was wrong with the infant.
Applegarth reportedly picked him up because he was crying and tried calm him down. He then said the baby started convulsing like he was having a seizure.
The infant was the handed to the mother, but he went limp.
At the hospital, multiple bruises were seen on both sides of the infant's face and forehead as well as above his right ear. Images the mother had on her phone from the afternoon of July 5 showed he did not have any bruising on the right side of his face or head.
Applegarth was then arrested.