By Ray King
A Pine Bluff man convicted of first-degree battery against his girlfriend’s 18-month-old son failed to convince the Court of Appeals Wednesday that the evidence presented at his trial was insufficient to convict him.
Jaquan Lasley, 27, is serving a 35-year sentence at the Department of Corrections Tucker Unit after a jury heard testimony that the child had sustained, among other injuries, a swollen and blackened eye, a skull fracture, burns from what appeared to be a cigarette lighter, and a bite mark on his abdomen.
The abuse allegedly occurred between April 1, 2017 and May 12, 2017. During that time, Lasley lived with the child’s mother, two other children, and the mother’s sister. Both the child’s mother and sister worked, and she testified that Lasley had been keeping the children while the two of them worked.
Testifying in his own defense, Lasley denied hurting the child and after initially telling police that he was the child’s caretaker, changed his story and initially said a neighbor took care of the children a lot more than he did and that the injuries might have been caused by the child falling out of his playpen onto a carpeted floor.
The Appeals Court said in its ruling that the child’s mother and grandmother were convinced that Lasley was the one who injured the child, he changed his story and there was no evidence of abuse before or after the few months Lasley lived with the mother and the children.
Lasley will be eligible to apply for parole on April 8, 2028.