A Douglas County man was convicted Tuesday of severely abusing his infant son who at almost 3 years old is confined to a wheel chair and unable to speak. And prosecutors said the abuse continued even after the man was ordered by the courts to stay away from the child.
Jada Jawan Goodson is expected to be sentenced Tuesday after being convicted of two counts of first-degree cruelty to children and two counts of aggravated assault, according to the district attorney’s office.
“It was obviously a long and emotional trial, but they (the jury) sorted through all of the science and medicine, combined it with their common sense, and ultimately stood up for this baby that never had a chance to stand up for himself. To me that’s what matters most," Assistant District Attorney David Emadi said.
Prosecutors said on April 19th, 2012, Goodson was left home alone with his 5-month-old twins and their 1-year-old brother when he claimed he found the child suffering from seizures and struggling to breathe around 8:30 p.m. Still, he waited for an hour and a half before seeking help, they said.
The baby was rushed to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite in critical condition, and Goodson blamed the 1-year-old, claiming that he must have jumped on the victim to cause the injuries, prosecutors said. But while at Scottish-Rite, the victim was discovered to have suffered from skull fractures, retinal hemorrhages, and new bleeding on the brain, they said.
In addition to those new injuries, the baby had a massive amount of old blood found on his head, which the neurosurgeon testified was indicative of an old, significant abusive trauma to the brain as well, prosecutors said.
The Division of Family and Children Services at the time ordered that Goodson not be allowed around the baby while sheriff’s investigators consulted with pediatric experts in child abuse to determine the ultimate cause of the child’s injuries, prosecutors said. The infant returned home with his mother in mid-May, but in June the mother secretly allowed Goodson to return to the home in violation of DFCS’s order. A few weeks later, whenGoodson was again left home alone with the infant, the boy was found again suffering seizures and struggling to breathe, prosecutors said.
For the second time he was rushed to Scottish-Rite where it was determined he had new injuries to the retina, new bleeding on multiple areas of the brain, and had suffered brain damage — this time it was irreversible, prosecutors said. The mother was charged with providing false statement and second-degree child cruelty for violating the DFCS' order, Emadi said.
“The child was almost 3-years-old but could not walk or talk, and was confined to a specially made wheelchair,” prosecutors said in court.
Doctors testified that the child’s injuries clearly indicated the child was abused, either by being violently shaken or by having some blunt force trauma inflicted onto his skull, prosecutors said.
“(Their) testimony indicated the injuries were comparable to being ejected from a car in a high speed car crash,” prosecutors said.