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Published: Wednesday, 6/3/2009

Man handed life term in death of infant son

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Robert Wielinski is escorted from the courtroom after being sentenced to life in prison in the death of his infant son. Robert Wielinski is escorted from the courtroom after being sentenced to life in prison in the death of his infant son.
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During most of Julian Wielinski's 2 1/2-month life, the baby boy was expected to die.

Before he turned a month old, the infant was taken to the hospital with skull fractures and bleeding on the brain and remained in critical condition until he died May 19.

Two weeks after the infant died as a result of injuries inflicted on him by his father, Robert Wielinski was sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

He pleaded guilty Monday to murder for violently shaking his then almost 4-week-old son causing injuries so severe that they eventually led to his death.

"Mr. Wielinski, I hope that when you do come before the parole board, I hope it's denied over and over again because of your hedonistic attitude about what you want, whether it's drugs or alcohol or wanting a baby to be quiet," Judge Ruth Ann Franks said before imposing the manda-tory sentence.

She then gave him credit for the 49 days he had already spent in jail, noting that it was "not many more than that baby was on earth."

Wielinski, 31, of 5414 Lewis Ave., originally was charged with felonious assault and child endangering after his infant son was taken to the hospital April 5 with injuries consistent with abuse.

He was indicted Thursday on a charge of murder, nine days after the boy died.

The original assault charges were dismissed yesterday as part of the plea negotiation.

During his plea, Wielinski told Judge Franks he had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he was taking care of his son.

He admitted that he became frustrated when the baby began to cry, so he grabbed the infant, shook him, and threw him to the floor.

Wielinski told the judge he regretted his actions, and that "all the people who know me know that it wasn't me that day."

He added that he knew his son was "in a better place right now," but he agreed with Judge Franks' assessment that the boy "deserved to spend his natural life on this earth."

Wielinski's parents left the courtroom without comment.

Attorney Kenneth Phillips said that if he were able, Wielinski would take the place of his son. He added that the murder charge to which his client pleaded guilty was "assault that leads to death."

"There was no intent," he said. " Obviously, you don't mix drugs and alcohol with children of any age."

Doctors diagnosed the boy's injuries after he was taken to the hospital. However, authorities said the April incident wasn't the first time young Julian had been abused.

According to medical exams, the boy had two fractured ribs that were healing. Doctors believe the injuries occurred between seven and 10 days prior to the fatal assault.

"We believe that this was an ongoing abusive relationship," Assistant County Prosecutor Rob Miller said after the sentencing hearing.

He added that the injuries are being investigated and would not comment on whether any other suspects face charges.

The child's mother, Melissa Coulter, was not at the sentencing yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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