Valley Grande man guilty of child abuse

Published 7:03 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The verdict of the Valley Grande man on trial for child abuse was delivered Tuesday. Jonathan Wilson was convicted guilty of child abuse, according to District Attorney Michael Jackson.

Jackson said the upcoming sentencing investigation can take a few months, but Wilson potentially faces up to 10 years of prison time because it is a class C felony.

“Once that’s complete, he’ll be sentenced,” Jackson said.

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In 2014, Jonathan and Tessie Wilson were arrested on child abuse charges for allegedly beating their 11-year-old niece.

Tessie pled guilty to second-degree assault in 2015 and was sentenced to five years.

“It was horrific,” said Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Cpt. Mike Granthum. “The wounds [the victim] had on her were oozing from her leg so bad that her pants would actually stick to them. She couldn’t sit down, it was that bad.”

School officials notified investigators. Granthum said Jonathan and Tessie admitted to the allegations during an interview but claimed it was discipline.

“She was made to do chores and stuff around the house. When she didn’t complete them to their standards, so to speak, she was punished,” Granthum said.

Investigators said the couple would discipline the victim by striking her with a belt and wet towel, and forcing her to do pushups and jumping jacks as punishment.

“Children need discipline. But you can take it too far,” Granthum said. “There’s nothing wrong with spanking your child, but when you go to actually beating your child, that’s uncalled for.”

Jonathan was on trial for a day and a half, and verdict was delivered less than seven hours.

“It was an open and shut case. The pictures speak for themselves,” Granthum said.

Investigators said the couple did not have a history of child abuse. The couple began to care for the child after her legal guardian, her grandfather, passed away.

DHR currently holds custody of the child and she lives with a new family in a different county, according to authorities.

Granthum said the girl has been seeking professional help and has been recovering well.

“She melts my heart when I see her,” he said. “She’ll come up to me and say ‘You saved me, you saved me.’”