Dad gets 4 years for cutting off baby's breathing monitor

Judge suspends most of sentence; 35-year-old man will serve less than 1 year

Posted: Friday, September 13, 2002

A man who destroyed his infant son's breathing monitor because it wouldn't stop beeping was sentenced Thursday in Juneau Superior Court to four years in prison.

Brian Bevelhymer, 35, pleaded guilty in July to one count of third-degree assault, a felony, stemming from an offense of Feb. 18.

Bevelhymer originally was charged with two counts of first-degree assault, a felony, and one count of fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks sentenced Bevelhymer to four years in prison with all but 18 months suspended, and four years of probation. Bevelhymer has been imprisoned at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center since his arrest in February. With time off for good behavior and time served, he could be out in less than a year.

Eleanor Kaye, the infant's mother, was convicted of reckless endangerment earlier this year for being too drunk to reattach her 10-week-old son to his oxygen machine, prosecutors said.

The baby's name is being withheld.

According to court records, the baby's lungs were undeveloped when he was born because he suffered from severe fetal alcohol syndrome. He needed the oxygen machine to breathe, and the monitor alerted caregivers when his oxygen levels were low.

Kaye told authorities Bevelhymer had disconnected the baby from the monitor, struck her and the baby several times, and threw the monitor from the balcony of a downtown hotel where they were staying, according to court records.

Bevelhymer denied hitting the child and said he didn't disconnect the baby from the machine that provided oxygen.

He testified Thursday that he and Kaye had been drinking and started arguing. He said the alarm on the machine went off. Its high-pitched squeal was always going off, he said, because of a loose wire.

"Eleanor started yelling," he said. "I went over to the monitor and Eleanor hit me. I hit her in the face with the monitor. It didn't yank on the baby in any way. I yanked the wire out of it (the monitor) and threw it against the wall and then I threw the monitor outside. The oxygen was still connected to (the baby) and the tubes were still in his nose. I didn't disconnect those things. The oxygen machine was working and (the baby) was still breathing."

Dr. Roger Martinez testified Thursday that the baby's oxygen level was dangerously low the night of the incident and it appeared he had been off of his oxygen supply for a while.

Bevelhymer told Judge Weeks that he took responsibility for his drinking and was sorry for what happened.

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