Amanda Wood, Jason Haskin bound over on more child abuse charges

  • In US
  • 2022-10-06 10:14:59Z
  • By Sturgis Journal

CENTREVILLE - A Sturgis couple are headed for trial over charges that they abused two young children earlier this year.

Completing the second day of a preliminary exam on Tuesday, St. Joseph County District Judge Jeffrey Middleton bound the case over to circuit court for Amanda Nicole Wood, 33, and her boyfriend Jason Haskin, 39, on child abuse charges.

A preliminary exam is a court hearing conducted to determine whether enough evidence exists to send a case to trial.

Chief assistant prosecutor Jason Robare added two additional child abuse charges against Haskin after testimony from Wood's 10-year-old nephew.

The fourth-grader, barely able to see over the witness stand, said Wood and Haskin babysat for him, the children of apartment lessee Ashley Tice, and Wood's children, 8-month-old son Ezekiel and 3-year-old Apollo.

The children stayed in the Village Manor two-story townhouse apartment in northeast Sturgis with Wood and Haskin from Aug. 5-7. On a rainy Sunday, with the couple arguing, yelling and screaming, the nephew said he saw Haskin throw Ezekiel against the upstairs hall wall holding him by his arms. He had done the same to Apollo first.The baby, in a shirt and diapers, began to cry.

The children ran outside into the rain. The nephew said his aunt, Amanda Wood, was downstairs and didn't see Haskin hurt the boys.

Preliminary exam Preliminary exam begins for Sturgis couple accused of abusing 8-month-old

The next day, maintenance workers entered the apartment and found two children alone. Sturgis police Sgt. Aaron Moore responded and found Wood and the children there; Haskin left earlier for Detroit.

Moore became concerned about the baby, who had trouble breathing, bruises and cuts on him and was lethargic. Ezekiel's diaper was overflowing on the couch.

Dr. Sarah Brown, a child abuse expert affiliated with Bronson Children's Hospital in Kalamazoo, examined the now recovering infant. She testified that she found rib fractures on both sides of the baby, some new and some older. Some ribs were separated.

"So severe the baby had difficulty breathing," she testified over Zoom from her offices. There was swelling of the chest walls. "The lungs were bruised on both sides."

Placed on concentrated oxygen, doctors kept Ezekiel off a ventilator. Dr. Brown said, "he was in pretty bad shape."

Doctors found a baby tooth in his mouth recently knocked out. There was a bruise on his forehead, around his eyes, "consistent with a high-force impact." The doctor said the injuries would take more than just a fall or the baby being dropped.

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What was described as a "slit or a neck cut" was infected with a drug-resistant staph infection.

Both of the baby's shoulders were fractured. There was a spiral fracture in the left leg tibia. The baby's genitals also were injured.

A drug test 24 hours after Ezekiel was treated for medical care found high levels of methamphetamine.

"This means there was a very high initial level. That is not good for anyone," Dr. Brown said. The drug hurts brain development, increases heart rate and blood pressure and makes the heart race.

More:Couple charged in abuse of 8-month-old baby

Child Protection Service worker Michele Gilpin went to the apartment July 21 after reports the children were unsupervised. She found both children in good health under the care of both Haskin and Wood.

"I had no concern relating to the well-being of the children. Both were taking an active role in the care of the two children." Both were drug tested that day and showed only small traces of marijuana.

On Aug. 8, Wood tested positive with high levels of meth and the opioid Suboxone.

Gilpin said Wood could give "no reason for the injuries to Ezekiel, no explanation."

Wood said she and Haskin were the only ones caring for the child. "She was adamant they were never left alone."

Both are charged with first-degree child abuse of Ezekiel, life felonies, plus child abuse in the presence of another child. Robare added second and third-degree child abuse charges against both.

After the nephew's testimony, the prosecutor charged Haskin with third-degree child abuse for more injuries against Ezekiel and Apollo.

Haskin is on a parole violation hold for a prior assault conviction. His bond was set at $1 million. Judge Middleton raised the $100,000 bond on Wood to $1 million.

Not guilty pleas will be entered for both Wood and Haskin in circuit court.

- Contact Don Reid: Follow him on Twitter: @DReidTDR.

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: Amanda Wood and Jason Haskin bound over on more child abuse charges


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