McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 2, 2013

McAlester man pleads guilty to beating baby

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — A McAlester man has pleaded guilty to beating an 8-week-old baby girl who remains hospitalized following the May 5 attack.

Nathan Lee Edwards, 22, of McAlester pleaded guilty and  was sentenced Monday in Pittsburg County District Court to one felony count of engaging in child abuse by injury.

On Monday, Edwards was sentenced to 40 years with 20 years suspended, for the May 5 abuse of 8-week-old Elayna Maree Daniel.

Officials say the baby is still unable to breathe on her own.

The child’s mother, Cassie Ragan, 29, of McAlester, pleaded guilty Aug. 22 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended for enabling the abuse of her baby daughter.

Edwards slapped the baby on the top of her head, picked her up by one arm, shook her, slapped her on the back and threatened the baby when she was “crying or fussy,”  a court affidavit states.

The baby was brought by ambulance to McAlester Regional Health Center on May 5 and was reported to have bruising on the head, arm and shoulder. She was transported from the emergency room by medical aircraft to Tulsa, a police affidavit states.

At the time the baby was brought to the hospital, she was suffering from head and trunk blunt force trauma as well as multiple broken bones in various stages of healing, officials said.

In addition to his sentence, Edwards, who has been in custody since the incident occurred, received no credit for time served and was ordered to have no unsupervised contact with children under 18 years of age. He was also fined $915.

Edwards’ attorney could not be reached for comment by press-time.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews. com.