ROCK SPRINGS — A 20-year-old Green River man could be facing up to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to a felony charge of aggravated child abuse.
Travis Thornock changed his plea today in the Third District Court of Judge Suzannah Robinson after initially claiming his innocence in connection to an incident that occurred with his 4-month-old son on October 1, 2019.
Thornock told the court today he was living with the child and the child’s mother in Green River when on the day in question he was trying to calm the child down. He said the mother was asleep at the time and he couldn’t keep the child quiet.
He then said he placed a binky in the child’s mouth and shook the pacifier “left to right” causing the child’s head to move back and forth.
“I had lost my patience and became frustrated and I shook (the child) hard, but not more than a few seconds,” Thornock said.
However, several days after the incident Thornock said he noticed the baby’s eyes beginning to cross and “his temples began to swell a little bit.” At that point, Thornock and the child’s mother took him to the hospital where he was later life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Thornock’s attorney Rick Helsin confirmed the child suffered a subdural hematoma and a retinal hemorrhage from the incident “and I believe those would quality as as serious bodily injuries.”
Thornock told Robinson he acted recklessly, not intentionally, when shaking the child’s head. Sweetwater County Attorney Dan Erramouspe said that testimony was satisfactory for the factual basis. He added that the doctor’s at Primary Children’s Hospital would be willing to testify at sentencing that the child would have died had he not been life-flighted there.
Judge Robinson said a pre-sentence investigation has been ordered in the case and the court is waiting for that to come back. Helsin will then request a sentencing date when the report is filed. Thornock faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He remains in the Sweetwater County Detention Center on $10,000 bond.