Man gets 35 years for child injury
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Dillon Curry, a toddler who suffered severe brain damage and is now a quadriplegic, remains in foster care in Abilene while the man who inflicted abuse on the boy awaits prison time.
At a bench trial at the Tom Green County Courthouse, 119th District Judge Ben Woodward on Wednesday found Richard Lowrey, 38, guilty of intentionally causing massive brain injury to his girlfriend’s son.
Lowrey was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the charge of intentional injury to a child, causing serious mental deficiency — a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Claire Noelke prosecuted the case for the district attorney’s office. Lowrey was represented by John Sutton.
On May 23, 2009, Lowrey woke his girlfriend, Deborah Barrera, saying that he had found her 2-year-old son with a pillow over his face, not breathing, in his bed. The couple had been in a relationship for about a year and were living together with Dillon in a San Angelo apartment.
Barrera took the boy to the emergency room at San Angelo Community Medical Center where he was seen by Dr. Robert Patyrak, according to the district attorney’s office. Dillon was transported to Cook’s Children’s Hospital Pediatric ICU where it was determined he had massive brain injury caused by asphyxiation.
Testimony in court this week revealed Dillon had prior “episodes” before his trip to the hospital where he would cry and then seem dazed and groggy after his mother came to comfort him. Child abuse pediatricians testified on behalf of the state that Dillon’s injuries — hair loss, bruising and burst blood vessels on his face — were caused intentionally.
Lowrey, who took the stand Wednesday in his own defense, repeatedly said he didn’t know what happened to Dillon, but that he would never hurt him, and that he loved him as a son. Lowrey’s own 15-year-old son was at the trial, along with other family members including Lowrey’s brother.
According to the district attorney’s office, extensive medical testing ruled out any underlying medical condition as causing the brain injury. The boy’s cerebral cortex, the basis for all executive functioning, was severely damaged.
His injuries left Dillon with the cognitive skills of a 6 week-old infant, cortically blind and quadriplegic.