Police say man disconnected baby's oxygen machine

Suspect faces felony assault charge

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2002

A Juneau man is being held without bail after allegedly disconnecting a 7-week-old baby from its oxygen machine and assaulting the infant's mother Monday night.

Police said the infant boy was listed in fair but stable condition at Bartlett Regional Hospital this morning.

Brian Jay Bevelhymer, 35, is charged with first-degree felony assault and fourth-degree misdemeanor assault.

Police Capt. Tom Porter said the first-degree charge, which applies to disconnecting the infant's oxygen machine, was warranted given the baby's age and the potential hazard of removing the baby from its breathing machine.

First-degree assault carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Fourth-degree assault carries a maximum of one year in prison.

Police said they were called to the Driftwood Lodge Motel downtown about 10:39 p.m. with the report that a man was "throwing things" from the second floor balcony.

Porter said that when officers arrived, they discovered parts of the infant's oxygen monitor, used to administer oxygen as well as monitor breathing, under the balcony. Police allege that Bevelhymer disconnected the baby from the monitor and threw the machine from the balcony because "the monitor was beeping." According to police, alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.

Police allege that Bevelhymer struck the infant and the infant's mother.

The baby boy was taken to the emergency room, police said. The hospital would not release any information on him.

Bevelhymer was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center without bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned today in District Court.

Porter said more charges may be filed against Bevelhymer depending on the child's condition.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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