Guilty plea in assault of baby

EVERETT — Jamarious Jackson sat on his grandpa’s lap on Tuesday doing his two favorite things — laughing and jumping.

His grin widened as he kicked out his legs and bounced in Eddie Carpenter’s arms.

Jamarious, who turns 3 in January, isn’t able to do a lot of things. He can’t walk or talk or stand or sit up on his own.

He can bounce though. He loves to bounce.

His grandparents cherish all that Jamarious can do. What may seem like a small step in a healthy child’s development is a miracle to them. After all, the doctors told them that Jamarious wouldn’t be able to do anything.

“We’re proving them wrong,” Ginger Carpenter said.

The Carpenters adopted Jamarious after he was removed from his parents in 2008.

His father, Tyrus Jackson, was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison for assaulting Jamarious when the boy was 3 months old. The boy has limited sight and has spastic cerebral palsy.

Jamarious was rushed to the hospital May 2, 2008. He was turning purple and having trouble breathing. Doctors determined that he had a brain injury, broken bones and internal injuries. They told investigators that the injuries were not accidental. Prosecutors alleged that his father was to blame.

Jackson, 22, pleaded guilty in July to second-degree assault of a child. He admitted to poking his son in the chest. He didn’t admit to causing the disabling head injury. He also pleaded guilty to having cocaine and violating a no-contact order.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter told the judge on Tuesday that there were complications with the assault case that could have led a jury to acquit Jackson. The prosecutor had to balance the risk of Jackson going free without any punishment or taking a guilty plea to a lesser charge and being assured that Jackson would spend time behind bars.

Initially, prosecutors alleged that there were aggravating factors. That could have led to a longer prison sentence.

Defense attorney Neal Friedman said he was prepared to take the case to trial. He expected to bring in experts to testify that there were other explanations for the boy’s injuries.

The night before he was taken to the hospital, the boy’s mother had fallen on some stairs while she was carrying Jamarious.

“It would have been a battle of the experts,” Friedman said.

Jackson had other outstanding charges, including drug possession and violating a domestic violence no-contact order. With those stacked against him, he agreed to plead guilty to the assault charge, Friedman said.

“I am sorry for what happened,” Jackson said Tuesday.

Both attorneys recommended a 4-year prison term, the maximum under the law.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne explained on Tuesday that the law prevented him from sentencing Jackson to more time. Court decisions and legislative changes in recent years have limited the instances in which judges can impose an exceptional sentence beyond the standard range, Wynne explained.

There’s no question that the child suffered severe injuries that were not accidental, the judge said.

“I’m glad he’s got time. It’s not enough,” Ginger Carpenter said.

Jackson will be out of prison in four years “living his life the way he always has. Four years from now we will be still changing Jamarious’s diapers and wiping drool off his face,” the grandmother wrote in a letter to the judge.

The Carpenters say they now focus on caring for Jamarious and making decisions that are good for him. They’ve also become foster parents to other children.

Ginger Carpenter also has become a volunteer guardian ad litem for the courts. She is tasked with representing the best interests of children in court cases.

“I’m on a mission to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other children,” she said. “If I save one child, I know I’ve made a difference.”

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Everett Police Department was investigating a woman's death Sunday morning after a driver hit and killed her on Broadway in north Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Woman killed by suspected impaired driver in Everett

A driver reportedly hit the person, which prompted the closure of Broadway between 17th and 19th streets Sunday morning.

Everett
Everett library, fire department will have social workers on call

Many 911 calls don’t require police or fire responses. City leaders want to ensure frequent callers get the help they need.

French fries and a fried chicken sandwich are shown at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in New York in 2015. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Michael Nagle
New Chick-fil-A restaurant coming to Everett?

An Everett Mall Way location would be the restaurant chain’s fourth Snohomish County store.

Everett
Charges: North Everett murder suspect caught on camera

Jeremiah Stringfellow, 27, is being held on first-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of Naej Belledent, 22.

x
Meadowdale teen claims race kept her off varsity basketball team

The 15-year-old sophomore alleges that, consciously or not, a new girls basketball head coach limited players of color.

Everett resident Shon Grimes receives a flu shot from pharmacist Nisha Mathew at Bartell Drugs on Broadway on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Already, worst flu season in years has claimed 3 in Snohomish County

Statewide, 13 people have died, including two children, from the flu this season.

Scout Skyler MacKay, 14, sits amongst only a small number of the over 600 toys he has collected for local children in foster care as part of his Eagle Scout project Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at his family’s home in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen Santa: Scout brings toys and joy to foster kids, like he was

Skyler MacKay, 14, of Lynnwood is collecting 1,000 toys for his Eagle Scout project. Toys will be given year-round.

This screenshot shows the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office's new crime dashboard released to the public last week. It tracks crime trends over the last few years.
Sheriff’s new database gives window into Snohomish County crime rates

Homicides are up compared to 2021. Some other violent crimes and property crimes are down, data released last week shows.

Commander Rob Lamoureux speaks about his experience working on Jennifer Brinkman homicide case on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Suspect in 1998 Marysville homicide cold case released on $250K bond

Four days after his arrest, Jeffrey Premo, 52, was no longer in custody. He remains a suspect in the killing of Jennifer Brinkman, 19.

Most Read