A Phenix City man spanked his 11-year-old son with a paddle for watching YouTube, leaving bruises on his body, according to testimony Wednesday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Ricky Fields, 34, pleaded not guilty to first-degree child cruelty. He was ordered held in the Muscogee County Jail under a $5,000 bond.
Judge Julius Hunter bound the case over to Superior Court.
Columbus Police Officer Jeana Bonaparte said she was called to Midtown Medical Center around 1:17 a.m. July 10 to check on an injured child who had been abused. The 11-year-old boy had bruises on his arms, legs and back, she said.
Bonaparte said he spoke to a member of the child’s family. She said he told her that Fields hit him with a paddle on July 4 because he was watching YouTube.
Police said the boy couldn’t recall exactly when and where the incident happened. One of his family members told authorities it may have occurred in Phenix City.
Attorney Stacey Jackson, who represented Fields, asked the testifying officer why the incident wasn’t reported sooner. Bonaparte said the woman didn’t give a reason.
Fields was taken into custody at 3:15 p.m. July 12 in the 700 block of 10th Street.
Jackson asked that Hunter dismiss the felony charge or reduce it to battery, which is a misdemeanor. He said the first-degree child cruelty charge is filed when a child is physically or mentally harmed in a malicious, cruel or excessive manner.
“We do believe that there was a spanking, but it wasn’t cruel and excessive and it wasn’t done in a malicious manner,” Jackson said. “It would have been done in an ordinary corporal punishment situation dealing with a guardian and a child.”
He also stated that police didn’t any evidence in court to indicate that the incident definitely happened in Muscogee County.
The judge said he will leave it up to Superior Court to decide whether the child was physically or mentally harmed in a malicious, cruel or excessive manner.