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New Ulm man sentenced for child endangerment

April 15, 2008
By KURT NESBITT, Journal Staff Writer
NEW ULM — Neither side was surprised at the sentence issued Monday morning in the case of a New Ulm man who was convicted of felony child endangerment last month.

A sentence was issued in Brown County District Court Monday morning for Gerald Brandon Marks, 20, of New Ulm.

Marks was tried before the court early in April and was convicted of felony child endangerment and acquitted of felony malicious punishment of a child.

He was accused last August of injuring his daughter, who was then three months old.

On Monday morning, Assistant Brown County Attorney John Yost told the court that he thinks it is “most important” that Marks “should make progress” in treatment before he is allowed to have visitation with his daughter.

Marks did not say anything during the hearing.

Brown County District Court Judge John Rodenberg sentenced Marks to serve 17 months in the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections, the execution of which is stayed for five years. He was placed on probation for five years and ordered to serve 120 days in jail, undergo a gambling assessment, a psychiatric evaluation and attend cognitive skills classes and participate in victim-offender mediation or write a letter of apology.

The judge told Marks that he wasn’t “sure what is true” about the incident because Marks’ testimony in the child protection case that also arose from the same incident was different from the testimony he gave during his criminal trial.

The judge noted that Marks spoke with a police officer for 45 minutes during the investigation and then added information at trial that was not in the police interview. On those grounds, Rodenberg felt the sentence was appropriate.

The judge also noted what he referred to as “public comment on the verdict.”

Rodenberg said that while “free speech is wonderful, the jury did its job” and noted that it had a combined total of 500 years of life experience with which it made its decision, and so the court was giving Marks a sentence consistent with that verdict.

Afterwards, Yost said that he wasn’t surprised at the sentence because of the verdict that was returned.

“I don’t think it was enough (jail time), but I wasn’t the one who rendered the verdict,” Yost said.

Yost said Marks is already on probation for felony-level offenses in other counties and may see a probation violation or revocation because of the sentence he received Monday.

Defense attorney Greg Anderson of Mankato, who represented Marks, said neither he nor Marks were surprised at the sentence, either.

“It was close to what was recommended and it was a guideline sentence, so I think it was fair,” Anderson said.

Yost had reacted in disbelief at the jury’s verdict, which acquitted Marks of felony malicious punishment of a child but convicted him of felony child endangerment.

The child endangerment charge was added after the initial criminal complaint was filed because Yost felt he had enough evidence to show Marks’ daughter’s injuries weren’t accidental and because Marks admitted lying during the child protection hearing.

Marks has said that he believes the verdict was fair and that he never intended to hurt his daughter.

Anderson has said that he believes the verdict was fair because criminal statues require different levels of criminal intent in order for person to convicted of an offense.

Article Photos

Gerald Brandon Marks was convicted of felony child endangerment in an April trial.



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