Phoenix, Arizona - Tuesday, Michael Joe, 33, of Whiteriver, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Joe had previously pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
Joe acted as the primary caretaker for a nine-month-old, developmentally disabled baby. He admitted to injuring the baby by squeezing the baby’s torso until he heard the baby groan and then stop breathing. The baby suffered broken ribs as a result. Judge Campbell increased Joe’s sentence due to other documented injuries to the baby, and because it was necessary to fairly represent the seriousness of this crime, which he described as a “case of severe child abuse.” The incident occurred on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, and Joe is a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Christine D. Keller and Anthony W. Church, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.