A Hot Springs man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to felony battery for injuring his 2-month-old son in 2017 while "huffing" air duster to get high.
Tylor Austin Mann, 31, who has been free on $10,000 bail since the day of his arrest on Jan. 10, 2018, appeared in Garland County Circuit Court with his attorney, Clay Janske, and pleaded guilty to first-degree domestic battery, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and was sentenced to 12 years and ordered to pay $420 in court costs.
A court order permanently barring him from contact with the victim was also issued by Judge Marcia Hearnsberger.
"He always admitted what he had done," Janske told The Sentinel-Record Wednesday, noting Mann had "a history of huffing," or inhaling air duster, a can of compressed air designed to clean dirt and lint from electronics, but "he hadn't done it in many years."
Janske said a family member had purchased some air duster "to use as it was intended" and left it out and Mann "happened to see it and ended up huffing again and it just zapped him."
He said Mann was holding the baby at the time and "he fell and the baby hit his head on a table or chair and then (Mann) fell on top of him, causing some pretty serious injuries to the baby."
According to the probable cause affidavit, on Nov. 12, 2017, Garland County sheriff's investigators received a report regarding a 2-month-old male admitted to Arkansas Children's Hospital's pediatric intensive care unit with bilateral skull fractures, subdural hematomas, and altered mental status.
The baby's father, identified as Mann, told hospital staff he dropped the baby on a tile floor while at a residence in Hot Springs.
The medical report states physical abuse was suspected in the case. Dr. Rachel Clingenpeel's diagnosis states, "No history of trauma has been provided to explain these injuries, which are consistent with blunt force trauma to both sides of the head."
She noted the injuries were "far more extensive" than those normally seen with relatively short distance household falls and "would require much greater, violent force." She concluded the injuries were consistent with "inflicted trauma and child physical abuse."
On Nov. 13, 2017, Mann was interviewed by sheriff's investigators and stated he went to the kitchen to make a bottle for his son and saw a can of air duster on top of the refrigerator.
Mann said he "broke and decided it was a good time to get a little bit in." He said he "doesn't remember much" after that, but guessed he dropped the baby and "possibly could have fallen on him."
He said he remembered picking his son up off the floor and a few minutes later realized the baby was lethargic and had "swelling on the side of his head." When Mann's girlfriend got home, he told her what happened and they rushed the baby to the emergency room.
A warrant was issued for Mann on Jan. 5 and he later surrendered without incident. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge on April 3, 2018.