25-year-old Garrett D. Gwizdala, a father from Bay City who was facing multiple felonies for the abuse of his infant daughter, has pled no contest to charges of first-degree child abuse and assault by strangulation.
Under Michigan law, first-degree child abuse is a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Assault by strangulation, also a felony, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. As part of his plea, Gwizdala will no longer be charged with the additional single count of second-degree child abuse.
According to court records, Gwizdala called 911 in the early evening of Wednesday, June 25th, to report that his 3-month-old daughter was not breathing and needed medical help. The baby was taken to McLaren Bay Region hospital via ambulance, and then later transferred to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, where she was finally declared stable.
Police records show that Gwizdala initially told police he had been lying on a couch with his daughter on his chest when the baby rolled off and landed on her face on the floor. However, when it came to the attention of the police that the injuries sustained by the child did not match Gwizdala’s recounting of events, he was questioned again.
Later interviews revealed the truth. Gwizdala told detectives that he had been upset because the baby wouldn’t stop crying, and so he had obstructed her breathing in order to get her to stop. He admitted to knowingly harming the baby. According to police, medical personnel also discovered other injuries that indicated signs of prior abuse.
Gwizdala’s trial on the strangulation and child abuse charges was scheduled to begin on December 2nd, however he will now be sentenced on Monday, January 26th by Circuit Judge Harry P. Gill. As part of his plea agreement, Gwizdala will be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years behind bars.