Oakdale man gets 14 years for egregious assault on daughter

An Oakdale man who assaulted his 5-year-old daughter in May 2014, which left her in a permanent vegetative state, has received a prison sentence of more than 14 years.

De'Anthony Russell Simpson, 26, was sentenced on Friday, June 5, to 172 months at the state correctional facility in St. Cloud. 

Simpson was given credit for 348 days of time served. He is obligated to pay $12,570 in restitution to the girl's maternal family in Wisconsin, as well as $100 to the county's emergency fund. He will be required to use his prison earnings to pay those costs.

"He's a lucky man that she didn't die, or we would have got him on murder," Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said last week.

Orput said the sentence of 14 1/3 years is a double-upward departure from normal state sentencing guidelines, due to aggravating factors -- particularly the vulnerability of the young child, who was completely dependent on her father at the time, and unable to escape the violent situation.

"We got a good sentence out of it," Orput said. "The hard part is what's an appropriate sentence when you've completely destroyed someone's life?"

The young girl spent most of her time living with her mother in Kenosha, Wis., but had been living with Simpson, who is her biological father, his girlfriend and her 5-year-old son in an Oakdale apartment for approximately six weeks prior to the May 15, 2014, incident.

Oakdale police received a report that a 5-year-old girl had undergone emergency brain surgery at Gillette Children's Hospital May 15 due to a severe brain injury. The report states the girl also had "significant bruising from head to toe."

In initial interviews with authorities, Simpson denied assaulting his daughter, and said a television tipped over and fell on her, causing her injuries.

But according to the criminal complaint, Simpson changed his story in a June 13, 2014, interview with police.

On that day, he told officers his girlfriend had taken her son to school the morning of May 15, 2014, and she had then gone to work, while he was at home alone with his daughter.

The criminal complaint said Simpson then told police he got into an argument with the 5-year-old. He became angry with her, grabbed her and asked why she hated him.

The complaint goes on to detail the violent encounter, stating Simpson threw the girl onto a bed with enough force to cause her to bounce and land on the floor, where she hit her head, causing a traumatic brain injury.

In a police interview, he said rather than calling 911, or taking her to the hospital, he tried to revive his daughter by splashing cold water on her face. When that meager effort failed, he called his girlfriend, and when she returned home, she placed the unconscious girl into the shower in another unsuccessful attempt to revive her.

According to the complaint, after some time had passed, Simpson decided his daughter needed medical attention, so he drove her to the emergency room at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood, where she quickly underwent emergency brain surgery.

According to the complaint, no attempt to call 911 was ever made.

The medical team that operated on the child made a list of her injuries including: "severe traumatic brain injury that resulted in subdural hematoma and cerebral edema that required immediate emergency brain surgery; significant scattered bruising over her entire body, including on her cheeks, forehead, chest, arms, legs and feet, all consistent with blunt-force trauma; respiratory failure as a result of her neurological injury, and a liver contusion caused by liver trauma."

A neurosurgeon and treating physicians told police the girl's injuries were not consistent with a TV toppling onto her, but were consistent with child abuse.

Simpson pleaded guilty to the full charge against him of felony first-degree assault resulting in great bodily harm in Washington County Court Feb. 12.

"He knew, and his attorney knew this was an egregious case," Orput said.

At the time, the medical team said the girl had little chance of recovery.

Orput said the girl's condition has not improved.

"I believe she is with her mother and still in a vegetative state," he said.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.


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