Man gets 14 years in prison for beating of 2-year-old
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org February 13, 2013 1:24PM
Richard S. Harris, 33, of 816 Black Road in Joliet, has been jailed on a charge of aggravated battery to a child. He is accused of brutally beating his 2-year-old stepdaughter, who is expected to need long-term care for a traumatic brain injury.
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:24PM
A Joliet man who nearly beat his stepdaughter to death was sentenced to 14 years in prison Wednesday.
Richard Harris, 35, was sentenced by Judge Sarah Jones. Harris pleaded guilty in October to beating the 2-year-old.
Last week, Judy Brown, the girl’s aunt and foster mother, said the toddler became so terrified of men that she would curl up into a ball or scream when a man came near her.
Harris ripped the hair off the back of the girl’s head during the February 2011 beating, Brown said.
The girl, now 4, still wakes up screaming from nightmares, she said.
She suffered a traumatic brain injury and had to learn how to talk and walk all over again, Brown said. She had retinal hemorrhaging, broken ribs and bruises.
She has recovered physically, but not emotionally, Brown said.
Two days after the Feb. 8, 2011, incident, Joliet police brought Harris in for questioning based on statements from the child’s mother.
Harris told police he was holding the girl when his arm went numb from arthritis and he dropped her, authorities said. He said he attempted to break her fall by kicking her but accidentally kicked her into a wall.
During last week’s hearing, Harris told Jones he was “truly sorry” for his crime.
Prosecutors asked Jones for a 15-year prison sentence.