A 23-year-old Dale City father was sentenced Friday to serve seven years in prison for shaking his baby daughter.
Martin Metholum Gupton, of 5256 Flatback Lane, was convicted of felony child abuse and malicious wounding. Gupton was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the malicious wounding charge with 11 years suspended dependent upon seven years probation. He received 10 years in prison with seven suspended and seven years probation for the child abuse charge.
Camryn Chavis was seven weeks old Feb. 21, when Gupton “shook her in a manner which resulted in catastrophic injury,” according to a criminal complaint filed with the Prince William Circuit Court. Because of Camryn’s young age, it is difficult for doctors to tell the extent of her injuries, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne T. Richardson II.
“The child will be developmentally delayed. They cannot tell how much,” Richardson said at a Sept. 12 hearing. “The retinal hemorrhages may cause scarring.”
Camryn remains under an opthomologist’s care for injuries to one of her eyes. In comparing Camryn with her twin brother, the twins’ mother has noticed Camryn has a harder time holding a bottle or focusing her eyes, Richardson said.
Gupton and his sister took the stand in his defense during Friday’s sentencing. Gupton apologized for his actions and said all he wanted to do was get out of jail and help his daughter. His defense attorney, Myron Teluk, presented six completion certificates for domestic violence prevention, anger management and behavior management classes to the court.
Gupton was previously convicted of two domestic assault and battery charges against his fiancee, the children’s mother, Richardson said. The incidents took place a month apart in 2001.
Gupton told Prince William County police that he shook Camryn after his efforts to calm her crying weren’t successful. Gupton said he shook the infant until she calmed down, and later admitted that her head may have hit the foot board of his bed or her cradle when he shook her.