A young Wisconsin father convicted in the brutal beating of his two-month-old daughter was sentenced to only six months in jail for the attack, Fox News reported, which had ended with the infant receiving 20 broken bones and bleeding in her brain.
Richard A. Root, 21, will also receive seven years of probation after pleading no contest to a charge of child neglect resulting in great bodily harm.
Root, of Oshkosh, was also ordered by the judge to stay sober, hold a steady job or attend school full-time, and undergo counseling. He also can’t have contact with his daughter without approval.
"My daughter means everything to me," Root said in court, according to NBC26. "I'm her father and I'm supposed to be her protector, but I let her down. I let myself down, my family down, my wife down, but most importantly, this little girl.”
Root’s attorney and the prosecution were in agreement that Root should not be sent to prison, NBC reported, due to Root taking parenting classes, attending counseling, and showing remorse.
"Balancing all those things, it still was a close call, and in the end I think what's happened is he's been given the opportunity to avoid prison," Assistant District Attorney Eric Sparr said, while noting that Root could still see prison time if he breaks his probation. "He hasn't necessarily avoided it yet, but he has the chance to avoid it if he continues to do well."
"I think in the end, that's the right answer," he added. "The family is safer and other people are safer the way it is.”
Root’s family was gathered around him as he received his sentence.
"They're an incredibly close-knit family," Root's attorney, Jeff Oswald, said. "They've stayed together through thick and thin in all this and I think they're incredibly relieved that it's all done."
After the March 2017 incident, Root brought his daughter to Aurora Medical Center, where doctors found that the infant had nine broken ribs, a broken arm, and a broken leg, according to a criminal complaint at the time, in which Root’s initial charge was one count of physical abuse of a child.
The infant also had bleeding in her brain and bruising on her head and face, according to a local Fox affiliate. She was treated at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and eventually released to a family member, according to USA Today.
A complaint said that Root told police that he “snapped” from stress and a lack of sleep when the baby began crying, Fox reported. Root responded by shaking the baby violently by the chest and kneeling on top of one of the baby’s legs while he was changing her diaper, he said.
"We have to remind ourselves, as parents, that if we become upset, that type of thing, just back away from the situation, have someone else handle it, you know and have someone else care for the child," said Oshkosh Police Officer Joe Nichols at the time.
[Image: Winnebago County Jail]