Man sentenced 1-6 years for shaking girlfriend’s baby

May 29, 2018, 5:52 PM | Updated: May 30, 2018, 9:54 pm

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – Becca Morales has helped care for her nephew Gabriel, ever since he suffered terrible abuse at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend. Five years later and after many ups and downs in the judicial system, Morales and other family members finally have a sense of closure.

“I think as a family it is hard because there isn’t really an adequate sentence for what has been taken away from Gabriel, but what we do feel today is a really, really, nice sense of closure,” she said.

It was a troubling case for Detective Lt. Gregg Ludlow with the American Fork Police Department and prosecutor Craig Johnson from the Utah County Attorney’s Office, who never gave up on pursuing justice.

Gabriel is 6½ years old and will always require full time, around the clock care.

In January of 2013, at age ten months, he was at home with his mother’s boyfriend, who police said shook him, causing a severe brain injury.

Robbie MacDonald was set for trial several times, but pleaded guilty this spring in a deal that resulted in Tuesday’s sentencing by 4th District Judge Derek Pullan.

Gabriel’s family said they were trying to move forward, without any resentment, to give him the best life they possibly can.

“We want to invest our energy in making sure he enjoys his life and the happy boy that he is. He is a bright soul. He is not riddled with resentment or bitterness. He is a joyful boy and that is what we want to focus on,” Morales added.

Gabriel lives with his father, but receives help from his aunt and other extended family members.

Judge Pullan sentenced MacDonald to one to six years in prison. Prosecutors were recommending to the board of pardons that he serve all six years.

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Man sentenced 1-6 years for shaking girlfriend’s baby