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Tomah man sentenced to six years imprisonment in infant's death

Tomah man sentenced to six years imprisonment in infant's death

Troy Tralmer

Tralmer

SPARTA — Troy Tralmer’s choices were responsible for the death of his 3-month-old son, Monroe County District Attorney Kevin Chroninger said Wednesday.

“Troy Tralmer is responsible for causing all that pain. … There is one person who caused all of this and that is Mr. Tralmer,” Chroninger said.

Tralmer, 30, Tomah, was sentenced to six years in prison and five years on extended supervision Wednesday after he pleaded guilty in September to child neglect causing great bodily harm in Monroe County Circuit Court.

Tralmer admitted to hitting his son Chad’s head on the sink and dropping him Nov. 5, 2015, while he was high on marijuana. The boy died two days later in the hospital of blunt force trauma.

Chroninger spoke on behalf of Chad, saying his entire life was taken from him.

“Consider what Chad has missed out on, all of those milestones that would have taken place. Chad would now be almost four and a half years old. At this point of time, he would have already taken his first steps, spoken his first words,” Chroninger said.

Tralmer’s wife and Chad’s mother, Nicole Tralmer, said she has witnessed Tralmer’s pain and remorse since the death of their son in 2015. Since Chad’s death, the two married and had two more children, ages 2 years and 1 month.

“I know that Troy did not abuse him or do anything to intentionally harm him. He has expressed to me multiple times how terrible and guilty he feels about Chad’s accident and I have witnessed his pain. That grief is never going to end,” Nicole Tralmer said.

She begged the court to let her children grow up with their father, saying they love him and want to see him every day and that the feelings are mutual.

“Bringing God back into our lives after losing Chad has been our only hope in managing our pain and grief. Removing Troy from our family will not make our children safer and will not hold him more responsible than he already has been,” she said.

Tralmer’s mother, Nancy Tralmer, described her son as slow to anger, a man with a kind heart who was dedicated to his church and his children.

“He is not the monster people are portraying him to be,” Nancy Tralmer said.

The two women were among the 24 people who wrote letters on Tralmer’s behalf to the court.

Tralmer also spoke, saying he turned to marijuana use to blunt the pain of his brother’s untimely death, and taking responsibility for his son’s death.

“I should have never let marijuana have a strong hold on my life … I should have never handled my son the way that I did,” Tralmer said. “God knows that I would give my life if it would bring him back.”

Chad’s extended family, including his grandfather, great-aunt and uncle, spoke about the impact the child’s death had on their family. The family went from overjoyed at the child’s birth to devastated and estranged.

The baby’s grandfather, Dan Semmerling, talked about how grief broke his wife’s heart and caused him to be put on leave at his job.

“Walking into that hospital room and seeing my little buddy hooked up to life support was the most horrible thing I’d ever seen,” Semmerling said.

After the child’s death, the Semmerlings withdrew from their family, unable to spend time with their other infant relatives without being reminded of their grandson.

Chad’s uncle, Michael Semmerling, criticized Tralmer’s behavior after the incident, noting that Tralmer failed to tell emergency responders immediately that he dropped the baby.

“Whose life were you trying to save: your son’s or your own?” Michael Semmerling asked Tralmer, before adding that the plea to child neglect causing great bodily harm seemed like a “half-truth” in light of the child’s death.

Judge Mark Goodman noted that it was in Tralmer’s favor that he had no prior criminal history and two dozen people were willing to testify to the strength of his character; however, he added, Tralmer admitted that he was responsible for Chad’s welfare and chose to smoke marijuana.

“I can’t help but think that if he were not impaired, he would not be here today and baby Chad would still be here,” Goodman said.

The gravity of the crime called for a prison sentence, he said.

“One of our most vulnerable members of our community lost his life, and the injuries that took his life were horrific and extremely negligent,” Goodman said.

Tralmer was immediately taken into custody after saying good-bye to his family.


Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

"Removing Troy from our family will not make our children safer and will not hold him more responsible than he already has been."

Nicole Tralmer, child's mother, Troy's wife

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