Chad Parker abused his infant son and then watched him suffer.

Parker was drunk and high on a prescription drug early May 21 when he snapped on his 3-month-old.

The injuries, he claimed at the time, were the result of co-sleeping.

The gravity of the crime was compounded by Parker’s lies, which delayed his son’s treatment, La Crosse County Circuit Judge Ramona Gonzalez said Monday before sentencing Parker to six years in prison and five years on extended supervision.

“You looked at your baby for hours, and you didn’t get any help,” Gonzalez said. “You may have very well placed him in situation where he’ll never recover.”

Parker, 30, of Onalaska told police he passed out with the infant on the couch after drinking and woke to find his son beneath his chest. He denied shaking the child.

The infant’s mother discovered bruising on the child’s neck, arm, back and stomach, along with injuries to his hand and ear later that day.

The child’s doctor found multiple skull fractures, swelling in three areas of his scalp, bleeding outside his brain and bruising to 14 parts of his body.

“Wyatt was, at that time, fighting for his life,” Assistant District Attorney Noel Lawrence said.

Parker during an earlier hearing admitted that he was high on Adderall when his son woke him. He described choking, throwing and spanking the infant.

Days after his release from jail, Parker broke into the boy’s mother’s home and left a note stating that he had thrown the boy on the couch, spanked him and bit his hand, according to the complaint. He also cut off his monitoring bracelet.

Parker pleaded guilty to physical abuse of a child, a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison, while three counts of felony bail jumping and possessing narcotic drugs and prescription pills were dismissed but considered at sentencing.

His son, now a year old, suffers from seizures, poor eyesight, sensitive hearing and lags in object identification, the boy’s foster mother said.

“Doctors can’t tell us what his future will look like,” Lawrence said.

Prosecutors agreed to leave the length of Parker’s sentence to the court’s discretion, while his attorney asked for probation to allow him to continue working to support the child.

“He’s destroyed by what he did to his son,” public defender Vincent Rust said.

Parker was financially supporting a family of four, sleep-deprived and overwhelmed when he hurt his son, his attorney said.

“I’m trying to do everything I can to make things right,” Parker said. “I wish I could go back to that night.”

“We all wish that, Mr. Parker,” the judge said.


Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at or 608-791-8224.

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