A Des Moines father convicted of abusing his infant son has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Twenty-two-year-old Jonas Neiderbach was found guilty of six counts of child endangerment on May 20, 2011. Prosecutors claimed he caused severe injuries to his infant son Ethan, who was only six-weeks-old when he was taken to a local hospital suffering from broken ribs and head injuries.
Ethan is now two-years-old and is largely unresponsive. His aunt and uncle legally adopted him and are in charge of his around the clock care. In court today, Shannon Nelson said no punishment for is harsh enough. “He took a child that was born normal, with no obvious problems and left him broken, devastated for the remainder of his life, however long that may be,” she says.
Nelson told the judge that Neiderback took her son’s life. “The kind of life that Ethan should have been able to lead was stolen from him when Jonas made the decision to abuse an innocent child. The boy and man he was supposed to become died that day,” she says.
When it was his turn to speak, Neiderbach said he didn’t do it. “To this day, I know I am innocent. I would never ever ever do anything intentionally to hurt my son,” he says. Neiderbach also thanked people for their prayers. “Please, I urge you with everything in my heart to please continue to do so. If not for me, just for my son Ethan.”
At the start of the sentencing hearing, Judge Douglas Staskal denied a motion for a new trial in the case. That motion was filed last week by Neiderbach’s attorney. “The best we can do now is deliver justice for Ethan and I believe that’s what the jury did when they rendered their verdict and I think it was an absolutely correct verdict based on the evidence,” says Staskal.
Neiderbach was given a term of 50 years in prison with no mandatory minimum. That means the state Parole Board will determine when he will be released. He also must pay restitution for Ethan’s medical bills, but an amount has not been determined yet.
Jherica Richardson, Ethan’s mother, is serving a 20 year term for her role in the child’s injuries.