YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A man convicted in a brutal case of child abuse is on his way to prison after being given the maximum sentence for his crimes.
Sharon Lawson and her husband have been caring for disabled and abused children for many years. In 2017, they began fostering the baby boy of Eric Pendland, who last month was convicted of shaking the child so violently he’s now permanently disabled.
“Nothing prepared us for the screaming, hours and hours of screaming,” Lawson said.
Pendland was in court Tuesday afternoon for sentencing on child endangering counts, but prosecutors said that’s only because the baby never died from his injuries.
The boy suffered traumatic brain damage and a broken neck that left him hearing impaired, nearly blind in both eyes and unable to hold his own head up.
Prosecutors said the boy was 3 months old at the time of the abuse.
“For the rest of his life, Eric will rely on others to bathe him, dress him, change his diapers, feed him, administer his pain medications,” Lawson said.
Prosecutors also said Pendland’s prior record, which includes convictions for robbery and a federal firearms charge, means mandatory prison time for this case, and they were asking for the maximum.
“I would submit to the court that this entire record is devoid of any remorse by the defendant,” said Atty. Jennifer McLaughlin.
But Pendland insisted he’s innocent.
“I’ve been falsely accused. I’ve been wrongfully convicted,” he said.
Judge Anthony Donofrio told Pendland the jury disagreed and found him guilty. After being sentenced to 11 years, the defendant bowed and shook his head before letting out one final outburst.
“(Expletive) man… (expletive)… I didn’t (expletive) do anything wrong, man!” he said.
Prosecutors said the victim, who’s now 2 years old, was formally adopted by the Lawsons a few weeks ago and now lives out of the area.