Jury convicts man of assaulting infant daughter

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WALLA WALLA — An area man has been convicted of assaulting his infant daughter by fracturing her skull early this year.

Following a Superior Court trial that began Tuesday, the jury early Friday afternoon found Alan R. Hackney, 21, guilty of the crime of second-degree assault of a child — domestic violence.

He faces a standard-range prison term of 31-41 months when he’s sentenced later. He remains free pending his sentencing hearing.

The eight-man four-woman jury deliberated a total of about 3½ hours Thursday afternoon and Friday before reaching its unanimous decision.

Hackney was open-mouthed when the verdict was read at 1:10 p.m. His attorney, Richard Wernette, said in an interview, “I'm very surprised.”

Wernette didn’t know if Hackney would appeal.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Mulhern told the Union-Bulletin she was “satisfied with the jury’s verdict and that justice was served.”

Hackney was convicted of intentionally assaulting Sophia J. Hackney at their residence at 2107 Granite Drive on Jan. 4. Sophia, who was 1-month old at the time, reportedly has made a full recovery.

Mulhern said in an interview she believes, based on the injuries Sophia received, that Hackney grabbed his child by the throat because she was crying, gave her a shake, and the back of her head contacted a hard surface of some kind.

The defense didn’t dispute at trial that Hackney injured his daughter by dropping her, but claimed it was an unintentional, tragic accident.

Hackney reportedly told the jury he accidentally dropped Sophia when he was in the process of moving her from a changing table to a blanket on the carpeted floor. He said he had her in one hand when she fell.

See more details in Sunday’s Union-Bulletin newspaper and here online.

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