Greenwood man who burned, beat infant to serve 10 years in prison

A Greenwood man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to accidentally burning and repeatedly abusing a baby.

Colton Johnson, 24, pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent, a Level 3 felony, before Johnson County Superior Court 3 Judge Douglas Cummins on Jan. 6. He was sentenced the same day to 10 years in an Indiana Department of Correction facility, three years of which are suspended to probation. He was subsequently ordered to comply with a no-contact order for the infant, according to the sentencing order.

Johnson was also ordered to take part in mental health counseling, along with anger management, domestic violence and parenting classes, according to online court records.

As part of the plea agreement, Level 3 felony charges of domestic battery causing serious bodily injury and battery causing serious bodily injury were dismissed. A misdemeanor charge of possession of paraphernalia was also dismissed, online court records show.

Johnson was arrested in April 2021 after the Greenwood Police Department responded to a call from a woman who said her infant grandchild appeared to have a burn mark and knot on his shins. The baby was taken to the Franciscan Health Indianapolis, then transferred to Riley Hospital for Children due to the extent of the injuries, according to a Greenwood Police Department report.

The baby had a burn mark on his shin, and was displaying signs of a broken left leg. After a full skeletal exam, 19 fractures were identified throughout the baby’s body, some of which had healed, according to the report.

Police interviewed Johnson, who was identified as the father. He told police he was heating a wax dab, which is a form of marijuana, on a rig and open flame, when some of the wax melted and dripped on the baby’s leg, the report said.

As for the other injuries, Johnson said he became frustrated with the child’s crying habits. On different occasions, he forcefully picked up the baby from his bassinet, as well as laid him down forcefully in multiple positions out of frustration and walked away. Johnson also said he yanked on the baby’s arms, legs, shoulders and sides when picking him up, according to the report.

A nurse practitioner at the hospital said there were fractures everywhere in the baby’s body, and this was the worst case of physical abuse she has observed, the report said.

A few weeks after his arrest, family members gathered at Franklin’s Province Park to bring awareness to child abuse. At the time, one of the baby’s relatives, Melissa Parker, said no child deserved to be treated this way and that people should speak out about child abuse if they know it’s happening.

“If you feel you are losing control, call somebody for help, have a friend come over to talk to you,” Parker said. “I’m totally in shock. I want to see awareness and I want other parents out there to know there are other ways. Like I said, if you’re stressed, reach out.”