Casper Man Pleads Not Guilty To Four Child Abuse Charges
A Casper man pleaded not guilty to four counts of child abuse involving three children including his infant son causing probable permanent brain damage, during his arraignment in Natrona County District Court on Friday.
James Cody Sanders, 28, is charged with two counts of child abuse in May with a girl born in 2015, one count of aggravated child abuse of a 14-day-old boy in January 2017, and one count of child abuse of an approximately 8-year-old boy born in 2010.
Each charge of child abuse is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment. Aggravated child abuse is punishable by up to 25 years of imprisonment.
District Court Judge Thomas Sullins kept Sanders' cash-only bond at $100,000. A trial date will be set later.
During the hearing Sanders wore a dust face mask and sat beside his public defender Dylan Rosalez.
This case is separate from one in which Sanders is charged with sexual abuse of a child. He pleaded not guilty to those charges earlier this month.
The case began on May 24 when a Casper Police detective responded to the Wyoming Medical Center's emergency room to contact an investigator with the Wyoming Department of Family Services, according to police affidavit filed in Natrona County Circuit Court.
The detective saw a girl, born in 2005, with bruising and other injuries over the majority of her body. According to the detective's report, "'SS had obvious ligature marks around the front of her neck/throat and the majority of her head was covered in swelling that was to such extent, that it caused a horrifying physical deformity.'"
The detective spoke with a woman who was Sander's boyfriend since February, and she said she took him to his job in Evansville and left the child with him. Sanders later called her and said she had fallen down stairs at work and was "'a little banged up'" and had "'some swelling,'" but was fine.
Another detective who arrived at the hospital reported the child's head was swollen to the point of deformity, her left eye was almost swollen shut, both ears had bruising inside of them, and cartoon characters were drawn around the bruises, and the word "poop" was written in red ink on the bottom of one foot.
Sanders, who waived his Miranda rights, told another detective that he took the child to his work site where he put the child in a room, and later saw her try to climb up stairs. He grabbed her, took her to the room and threw her against a wall. He left her with toys and food and went back to work. Sanders grabbed a piece of hardened insulation 4-feet 3-inches thick and repeatedly hit the girl, who covered her head. Sanders became frustrated and stopped.
Sanders took the girl to his residence on North Kimball Street, where she climbed on a bed and knocked over a bag of crackers. He pushed her off the bed and she landed on toys on the floor.
Sanders allegedly abused two other children, including his 14-day-old son in Mills on January 2017, and his approximately 8-year-old son in 2016
On Jan, 29, 2017, the girl's mother called the Mills Police Department and said she had a "preemie" who was "limp and gasping for breath."
The boy, with the initials ZS, was taken to the Wyoming Medical Center. A CT scant showed bleeding in the child's brain.
Subsequent medical reports detailed multiple hemorrhages in the brain; bilateral retinal hemorrhaging, which is caused only be severe trauma; and continued swelling of the brain. "Medical personnel advised that ZS's condition was very serious, especially with the amount of swelling in the brain due to his hemorrhaging, and stated that if ZS survived, he would likely suffer permanent brain damage from his injuries."
In August 2017, the boy's mother took him to a doctor who noted bruising on his buttocks. The mother said the bruising happened when she was not at home, and asked the Department of Family Services to take custody of the boy because she didn't feel she could keep him safe. "(The mother) also mentioned that she is afraid for herself and the dog, and that she is afraid to leave James Sanders." The mother eventually moved out.
Sanders told police he shook his ZS because he was frustrated that he wouldn't take his bottle. Sanders showed how he shook the boy for about 30 seconds by moving his hands sideways and up and down.
The third case happened in late April or early May 2016 when a woman who had custody of another son of Sanders told police the boy, born in 2010, had dark purple bruising on his buttocks.
The boy was interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Project. He was upset when he talked about his dad spanking him because it was "'really hard.'"
Sanders told police he had to take anger management assessments and "jump through hoops" in order to see his son.
He added he had never spanked his son before and knew he took it too far.