CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. - A Marion man will spend at least 18 years in prison for the brutal beating of a baby in 2014.
Dustin Allen Lewis, 34, was found guilty of two felony counts of child abuse by a jury Monday, Dec. 16.
Lewis' trial started on Dec. 3. The State began its evidence presentation on Dec. 4 and rested 10 days later. The defense did not present any evidence.
The offenses occurred when the little girl was just two or three months old. According to doctors at Levine Children's Hospital, the little girl was brought in with subdural hematomas, retinal hemorrhaging, more rib fractures and a broken tibia.
Doctors say there were also old rib fractures prior to her admittance to the hospital in December and injuries that were inflicted about a week before the baby was hospitalized. The doctor indicated that the injuries were not accidental but intentional.
The now 5-year-old girl is blind and quadriplegic, and suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. She also has to wear leg and arm braces, and cannot walk or sit up on her own. A child abuse expert stated that her medical conditions are a result of Lewis' abuse.
When he was first interviewed by law enforcement, Lewis denied doing anything to the child, but in subsequent interviews he he told investigators he had been throwing the baby up in the air and accidentally dropped her. He said she fell into a pool of water and hit her head on the tub.
Lewis will serve his time in the custody of NC Department of Corrections.