Arkansas man pleads guilty to infant son's injuries

A Cabot man accused of inflicting bone-breaking injuries on his then-3-month-old son has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic-battering charge, a week after a Pulaski County jury deadlocked on whether he was responsible for the baby's injuries.

The February trial of Zachary Andrew Culp ended in mistrial after the jurors reported they had rejected the felony charge brought against the 28-year-old first-time father, but they could not reach the required unanimous verdict on the lesser charge available to them -- the misdemeanor count Culp pleaded guilty to last Thursday.

Jurors heard conflicting medical testimony about what caused the baby's injuries, which included bleeding in his brain.

Dr. Karen Farst, an authority on child abuse at Arkansas Children's Hospital, testified that the injuries could have come only from abuse. She said the infant's injuries would have been hard to detect absent an extensive examination.

Defense expert, Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University Medical Center, told jurors that the baby suffered from a rare genetic bone disorder. Holick donated his services to the Culp family after Zachary Culp's wife -- Sarah Culp, the baby's mother -- contacted him last year.

Sentencing documents filed on Monday show Zachary Culp was sentenced to a year on probation and fined $500. As a first-time offender, he can have his conviction expunged if he completes his probation and stays out of legal trouble.

Culp's plea requires him to complete parenting classes, but also allowed him to be reunited with the son, now 15 months old, whom he has not seen in almost a year since he and his wife brought the baby to the emergency room in March 2018. He had been court-ordered to stay away from the baby after his arrest that day.

Children's Hospital doctors who examined baby Quincy found him to be suffering from 17 bone fractures and reported Culp to the sheriff's office.

According to testimony, the March 23, 2018, trip to the emergency room was the infant's second in two days. The first trip was because the baby was having a hard time nursing and had been losing weight. ER doctors looked over the child but found nothing wrong with him, according to testimony.

The Culps returned to the ER the next day their pediatrician noted the baby's arm had swollen, and the resulting ER examination showed the broken bones and brain bleeds.

Metro on 03/12/2019