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Father gets one-year jail sentence for shooting son, 3, with a BB gun

June 26, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — A man who shot his 3-year-old son in the face and head with a BB gun was sentenced to one year in jail after he pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree child abuse in Washington County Circuit Court.

John William Wilfong Jr., 24, of 507 W. Washington St., Apt. 4, Hagerstown, had also been charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and neglect of a child, but those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson said.

Wilfong’s children were visiting him on Dec. 23, 2011, when he called his estranged wife and told her their son had shot himself in the face with a BB gun, Wilson told Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr.

His wife told Wilfong to take the child to the hospital, but he did not, and she reported the incident to Child Protective Services, Wilson said, reading from the statement of facts.

The boy was later found to have one BB embedded in his chin and another behind his ear, Wilson said. There was also a welt that indicated the boy might have been hit a third time, he said.

The boy told investigators with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Child Advocacy Center that his father had shot him, he said.

Wilson told Long the prosecution would not object to a sentence concurrent with one Wilfong is serving for distribution of marijuana.

Wilfong is serving 18 months in the Washington County Detention Center on the drug charge, court records said.

Wilfong’s criminal record includes a 2009 conviction for reckless endangerment for throwing objects at moving vehicles, Wilson told Long.

“I need medicine ... because I’m angry. Bipolar,” Wilfong told Long when asked if was ever under the care of a psychiatrist.

“You positively, absolutely have to learn to use better judgment,” Long told Wilfong. “You’re very fortunate, and your son is very fortunate that something more serious did not happen.”

Long sentenced Wilfong to eight years in prison, suspending all but one year to be served concurrent to his drug sentence.

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