A Parkland man who assaulted his girlfriend’s 1-year-old daughter has been sentenced to at least 14 years in prison.
Thomas Randle Babler, 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree child rape as part of negotiations with Pierce County prosecutors. A jury in October convicted him of second-degree child assault and second-degree criminal mistreatment.
On Friday, Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener sentenced Babler to 14 years, two months to life in prison.
Babler was arrested in January 2015 after the girl’s mother took her to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and doctors found signs of abuse, including a skull fracture and sexual abuse.
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When investigators questioned Babler, he told them the baby must have been hurt when she fell off the couch and whacked her head on the floor.
Babler sometimes watched the baby while his girlfriend was in school, according to charging papers.
Later, he admitted hurting the girl during a violent rage he sometimes experiences in his sleep.
Babler, a former soldier, said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In letters to the court, Babler’s family talked about how he changed after returning from a deployment to Iraq. He allegedly suffered night terrors and withdrew from loved ones.
“I have a firm belief that my brother is a salvageable human being and should be cared for instead of being put in a prison cell,” wrote one of his sisters.
“I believe that with appropriate treatment that I could have my brother back, my son could have his uncle back, that my parents could have their son back.”
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653