After more than two years of denials, Nathan Blake McCrory has admitted beating and his burning his son, Zander, so severely that it almost cost the then 3-year-old his life.
McCrory, 26, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of felony child abuse for critically injuring his son on April 10, 2016. McCrory initially blamed Zander’s injuries on a fall down some stairs at his father’s home in the East Central community. He also pleaded guilty to one count of manufacture of a controlled substance (marijuana).
When Zander arrived at a hospital for treatment, his eyes were swollen shut and he had burns to his arms, bruising to his head and body, a lacerated liver and collapsed lung among other injuries.
McCrory was sentenced to 55 years in prison, and he must serve 25 years with 15 years on post-release supervision. He also must pay $4,000 in fines plus court costs and other fees.
Zander’s mother, Emily Saucier, other relatives and supporters packed the courtroom Wednesday to show their support for Zander and his family. Relative Jimmy Spears said he was glad McCrory pleaded guilty so Zander, his mom and the rest of the family could try to put what happened behind them and move on with their lives.
Zander, now 5, would have had to testify at trial.
“The thorough investigation by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department helped our office resolve this case without having to further cause trauma to the victim by having him testify at a trial,” said Assistant District Attorney Justin Lovorn in a press release. “I hope this twenty-five year sentence shows others that those who abuse children will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department began investigating after Singing River Hospital called to report the suspected child abuse.
After the beating, McCrory took him to his grandmother and told her the same story about the boy falling. The boy’s grandmother called 911 to get a ambulance to rush her grandson to the Pascagoula hospital. From there, Zander was flown to the University of South Alabama Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Mobile.
Zander was on a ventilator and doctors could not say if he was going to make at first.
After more than a week, Zander left the hospital to the sounds of cheers from the Alabama hospital staff who treated him.
A community of supporters rallied around Zander and his family after the abuse surfaced.
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