BURKBURNETT (KFDX/KJTL) — A 25-year-old father authorities said put his newborn son at risk of dying or lifelong health problems from abuse was sentenced in a plea agreement to a third degree felony: continuous violence against the family.
The charge includes the injury to the child and also another assault by Keegan Freeman on the baby’s mother, his ex-girlfriend.
Had Freeman been indicted on the charge he was arrested on, injury to a child, the penalty for that first degree charge is 5-99 years prison or life.
The maximum punishment for the third degree felony is 10 years in prison, and prosecutors got all but one year of that maximum in the plea.
The prosecutor in this case, Misty King, said the child’s mother approved the plea agreement.
King said the strategy for prosecutors was to indict Freeman for the continuous violence against family and then add additional charges if the baby died.
However, she said miraculously he did survive and, in fact according to the mother, is now thriving.
The baby was flown to Cook Children’s Hospital, where doctors were not optimistic on his chances. They thought if he survived, he might suffer long-term impact on health. They said he suffered bleeding in the skull and brain and also retinal hemorrhages and was having seizures.
When Burkburnett police and paramedics arrived at the home on West 4th July 5, 2019, they said Freeman’s mother was outside in the street holding her 28-day-old unresponsive grandson.
As paramedics began assessing the baby’s condition, police said Freeman, then age 23, pointed to bruising around the baby’s jaw and told the detective on scene that the bruising did not come from abuse. The detective became suspicious, and called a Texas Ranger to the scene to assist the investigation.
The boy’s grandmother later told police she had been on the couch while Freeman was in a bedroom with the baby and that she began to hear a lot of crying. She said the crying suddenly stopped, and the baby then began to whimper while Freeman took him to the kitchen sink and began pouring water on him.
She said she asked if something was wrong with the baby, but Freeman did not answer, and he called the baby’s mother on the phone.
The mother, who was at the store, said Freeman told her something was wrong with the baby, and she went home and asked the child’s grandmother to help, and the grandmother took the baby outside.
The mother told police the baby was fine and asleep in his bassinet when she left for the store.
Police said Freeman’s account was that he was at the kitchen sink preparing a bottle and saw a friend walking by outside and went out to talk to him, but he could not tell officers the friend’s last name. He said he had a baby monitor from the baby’s room and did not hear anything on it for the five minutes he was out.
He said when he came back in and checked, he found his son unresponsive and breathing strangely, so he called the baby’s mother.
In October 2019, the D.A.’s office obtained an indictment for the charge of family violence, which included the injury to the baby and for an earlier injury by Freeman to the baby’s mother, by choking and impeding her breathing.
The indictment states that Freeman struck the baby with a bottle or pacifier or his hand or against a hard or soft surface.
The D.A. said Freeman’s parental rights to his son have also been terminated.
The plea agreement states other pending charges against Freeman were dismissed, and he will receive 1,046 days off his sentence for jail time served.
Last month, Freeman had a new charge of assault of a public servant filed, after the sheriff’s office alleged he assaulted a corrections officer.
The affidavit states he was being moved from the recreation yard back to his solitary cell. He was in restraints due to policy for inmates who had been assaultive toward staff in the past. Officers said while being walked back to his cell, he head butted an officer in his head.