DANIEL L. LACEY, d/o/b 4-07-1988, of Branson, entered pleas of guilty to two (2) counts of child abuse in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Judge Eric Eighmy accepted Lacey’s guilty pleas, ordered a sentencing assessment report be prepared, and scheduled formal sentencing for July 12, 2017.
On October 19, 2016, Lacey and his wife took their 8-week-old child to the Cox Hospital emergency department, in Branson, to be examined for undetermined medical concerns. Lacey told medical care providers that the child had squirmed out of his arms and fallen onto a couch, while his wife was at work earlier that day. Doctors diagnosed the child with acute subdural hematoma – both bilateral and posterior – and found that the injuries were not consistent with a fall described by Lacey. Furthermore, the child was observed to have bruises that appeared to be possible bite marks on at least four (4) different body parts. Upon questioning by detectives with the Taney County Sheriff’s Office, Lacey admitted to biting the child – which was corroborated through DNA testing on one of the bite marks.
Lacey pled guilty to one count of the class C felony of child abuse for biting the child, and that charge carries a maximum penalty of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine. Lacey also pled guilty to one count of the class B felony of child abuse for causing serious physical injury – specifically, the acute subdural hematoma – and that charge carries a range of punishment of from five (5) years to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, Lacey could receive up to twelve (12) years in prison at his sentencing.