GILLETTE — A Gillette man will serve up to eight years in prison after being found guilty of six counts of aggravated child abuse.

District Judge Stuart S. Healy III sentenced Tyler Martinson, 30, to four to eight years in prison Monday.

The sentence comes two months after Martinson was found guilty of six counts of aggravated child abuse during a 7-day jury trial.

Martinson had originally been charged with 31 counts of child abuse, stemming from Jan. 2, 2021, when Martinson’s 3-month-old son was found to have 31 broken bones in his chest and legs, including 10 that were recent.

The jury found that Martinson caused these injuries from being reckless with the child, and that he did not cause them intentionally. For the crime of aggravated child abuse, only one of these two criteria must be met.

The prosecution asked Healy to sentence Martinson to 36 to 50 years in prison. His defense attorney, Cassie Craven, asked Healy to sentence Martinson to supervised probation.

During the trial, the defense argued that the baby’s injuries were from a medical condition that made his bones weaker than normal.

During the pre-sentence investigation, Martinson’s probation officer did not make a sentencing recommendation, something that Healy had never seen.

Healy noted that Martinson took steps to better himself, taking parenting and relationship classes as well as going to counseling.

Dr. Michael Holick, an endocrinologist and a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine diagnosed Bullinger and the baby with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the strength of one’s connective tissues, which in turn weakens the bones.

And Dr. Susan Gootnick, a radiologist from the Bay Area in California, said the baby’s bones were “abnormal” and that he had Rickets, a disease caused by a Vitamin D deficiency that can lead to weak bones.

Dr. Kathryn Wells, who saw the boy when he was at the University of Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado, said the boy’s injuries resulted from child abuse and could not have happened on accident. She testified that she’d ruled out conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Rickets and brittle bone disease.

The boy had corner fractures in his legs, which are often caused when there is tension along the length of the bone, such as from a yanking or tugging motion, Wells said.

The broken femur was a spiral fracture, meaning it was broken with a twisting motion. And as for his rib fractures, Wells said infant ribs are not hard, and that they can be damaged by grabbing or squeezing.

Martinson told Police Detective Eric Small that he never shook the baby, but he admitted to holding the baby upside down by the ankles about three to four times.

Martinson said it’s possible that the boy’s legs broke from a bicycling motion that Martinson did with his legs to help relieve gas, but “I just can’t see that I’ve done that.”

He said he wasn’t sure if he was putting too much pressure on the legs, and he attributed it to being a first-time father.

“I’m new, I get confused,” Martinson said. “I freak out a little bit, and don’t know what to do.”

He admitted to being rough with the boy at times, enough to make him cry, but didn’t think he hurt him.

Martinson’s parents testified, saying they never worried about the boy being hurt. At a Christmas party a week before the incident, the baby seemed totally happy and normal.

The baby was taken to the hospital because he was crying and “inconsolable,” and a popping sound from his ribs when he breathed worried his parents. His right leg also wasn’t moving.

An emergency medicine physician at Campbell County Health found that there were five acute fractures in the boy’s legs, including four in his right leg. The worst fracture was a 45-degree angle break in his right femur. There also were recent fractures in his ribs.

In Wyoming, a count of aggravated child abuse is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

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