Portsmouth, VA – A young child sustained a brain injury while in the care of his longtime babysitter, Shawntisha Gatling, twenty-one years old. The boy died as a result of the brain injury he sustained from the incident. Little Koby Stewart, Jr. was only two years old and had to be rushed to the hospital on October 6, 2005. The boy was unconscious upon arrival and had episodes of seizures. Physicians and staff worked tirelessly to save the two year old’s life to no avail. He eventually died from the injury which produced swelling of the brain. In eight days after the incident the child was taken off life support causing his life to come to a tragic and abrupt end.
Jury Makes Sentence Recommendation for Child Brain Injury Case
Yesterday a jury handed down a decision that Gatling was guilty of involuntary manslaughter. A recommendation of a sentence of seven years was given by the jury. Formal sentencing of Ms. Gatling will not take place until May 2008. Also, Gatling’s boyfriend Robert Waddler was present at the time of the incident. He is being charged with felony neglect for the situation. Waddler gave testimony that the child hit his head on the bed frame and also walked into a door.
A medical examiner throughout the four day trial stated that the child’s brain injury was deliberate action. In addition, two pediatricians on the staff of Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters gave testimony regarding the child’s injuries. Both pediatricians agreed that a two year old would not be able to sustain this type of an injury from the amount pressure from falling into a bed frame or walking into a door. One of the pediatricians also gave testimony that the injury to the child would have been identifiable within a few short moments of occurring. The child wouldn’t have been able to walk properly or eat. In addition, he would’ve shown signs of abnormal functioning. During the trial the defense made several arguments that noone really knows what happened to Koby.
An acquaintance of Gatling gave testimony that she witnessed the child walking with her on the day the accident took place. Waddler gave testimony that he spoke with the child on the phone during a break he had at work. He said Gatling attempted to wake up Koby with no success. When he returned home from work Gatling had been smoking and was pacing the floor when she couldn’t wake Koby up.
Cyntrya Pete is the twenty-five year old mother of Koby. She was phoned to come and pick Koby up. Upon arrival to the hospital he had stopped breathing. Koby’s organs were donated to four children and one adult. It was his father, Koby Stewart, Sr. that came to the decision to donate his organs. He said he wants to believe if it had been his son who needed the organs someone else would have made a donation too.