A local Jacksonville man has been sentenced up to 29 years in prison for causing his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter to become special needs child after he brutally beat her.
Edward Hugh Felts lll, 37, of Jacksonville, was charged by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office with three charges of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses; two charges of negligent child abuse; child abuse inflicting serious injury; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Mary Alice Wilson, the child’s mother, was also arrested by the sheriff’s office on three charges of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses; three charges of obtaining property by false pretenses; obstruction of justice; negligent child abuse; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Wilson charges are pending and no court date is currently scheduled.
The child sustained 17 unmistakable bruises to her face, 12 bruises to her abdomen and 17 bruises to her extremities, according to Assistant District Attorney Kaelyn Avery, during a jury trial on April 3. The girl suffered bleeding of the brain, retinal hemorrhaging and a fractured collar bone.
Avery said the child’s brain “swelled to the point of a stroke and was hospitalized for 10 days followed by two months of rehabilitation” and after Felts beat the child, he waited 53 minutes before calling the mother, Mary Alice Wilson, who was at work.
The 4-year-old is now living with her guardian, who testified to the court that “The child we used to know is gone.” The guardian said that everyday is a struggle for the child “to get dressed, make friends at school and use utensils.”
The child’s aunt also made a statement saying that “a baby that was robbed now has to fight for her life.”
The guardian said the child is now considered “mentally retarded by the state and is a special needs child who functions at a 3-year-old’s level.”
N.C. Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Charles H. Henry sentenced Felts to between 238 and 298 months in prison on the first count of intentional child abuse then consolidated the two remaining charges where Felts will serve at least 34 months and no more than 53 months at the expiration of the first sentence.