(Versailles, Ind.) - A former Ripley County Sheriff’s reserve deputy is being sent to prison after he abused his infant son.
Last month, a jury convicted Zebulan “Zeb” Hildebrand, of Holton, was convicted last month of Battery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and Aggravated Battery, both Class B felonies. Prosecutors said Hildebrand purposefully hurt his two-month-old son in August of 2011.
On Wednesday, a judge sentenced Hildebrand to 16 years in prison, with two of those years suspended to probation, The Versailles Republican newspaper reports. The 31-year-old had faced a maximum of 20 years. Hildebrand’s defense attorneys had argued for the lightest possible sentence of six years.
Dearborn Superior Court I Judge Jonathan Cleary served as a special judge in the case, because Ripley Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul had recused himself because of personal and professional relationships with people involved.
Cleary listed the age of the child and Hildebrand’s position of trust as a law enforcement officer as aggravating factors in deciding a sentence. A mitigating factor was Hildebrand’s no prior criminal history.
During the trial, Hildebrand explained that he accidentally dropped his son in their Holton home.
The child was taken to Margaret Mary Hospital in Batesville, but later taken by aircare to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where doctors discovered his bleeding brain, bleeding in the eyes, and a lacerated liver. The baby was hospitalized for a total of 10 days.