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Prison time ordered for father of injured infant

Roger Darren Warner

BEMIDJI – A 29-year-old Bemidji man accused of causing injuries to his infant daughter has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Roger Darren Warner of Bemidji was sentenced to 37 months in prison for felony third-degree assault to a victim under the age of 4.

His sentence, ordered Monday by Beltrami County District Court Judge John Melbye, is an upward departure from state sentencing guidelines.

Warner, who as of Friday remained in Beltrami County Jail, was given credit for 253 days already served. He must pay a $50 fine and $160 in fees.

Warner entered an Alford plea on Aug. 7. An Alford plea has the legal effect of a guilty plea; Warner did not admit guilt but he conceded prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

At about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 2, a law enforcement officer was notified of a then-3-month-old baby, later identified as Warner’s daughter, who was being airlifted to Fargo, N.D., due to life-threatening injuries consistent with non-accidental trauma.

Medical reports indicated she had a leftward gaze, stiff muscle tone, poor respiratory effort and was nonresponsive to painful stimulus, according to court documents. A CT scan showed multiple fractures with intracranial hemorrhage, acute subdural blood, bilateral subdural hematoma, high eye bi-parietal skull fracture and a rib fracture.

The injuries were noted as “highly suspicious for non-accidental trauma,” according to court documents.

During the investigation, Warner gave three accounts of how the child may have suffered such injuries, according to court documents. He initially told law enforcement she was pulled from a bed and then said he dropped the girl in the shower. He later said he fell on top of the girl.

A doctor told police that a history of being pulled from a bed or some sort of drop in the shower would not explain the “significant and extensive” injuries the infant suffered.