An Idaho County jury found 21-year-old Forrest J. Pilant guilty on felony counts of injury to a child and aggravated battery of a child Friday night after a one-week trial in Grangeville.
Pilant had been free on $35,000 bail pending the trial, which had been delayed several times because of the coronavirus pandemic. But his public defender, John A. Wiltse, said he was taken into custody pending sentencing after the jury reached its verdict.
Jurors deliberated for about five hours Friday, including a dinner break. Pilant had been charged in connection with the injury to a 15-month-old girl during the month of November 2019, when the child was brought to the Syringa General Hospital emergency room in Grangeville with bruises on both jaws and other parts of her body.
The girl had to be airlifted to a Spokane hospital, where she underwent surgery to relieve bleeding in her brain, according to testimony earlier in the trial. Witnesses at Pilant’s preliminary hearing testified that Pilant had been alone with the child, who is not his biological daughter, during the month in question.
Pilant told Grangeville police that he was giving the girl a bath when she fell and sustained her injuries. But Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk MacGregor said the testimony of the doctors who treated her made the truth of the situation clear for the jury.
“I think the medical testimony was just overpowering,” MacGregor said. “It was really expert. These were three doctors, and they were all specialized in pediatrics.”
In contrast, the defense medical expert didn’t ever examine the girl or interview the physicians who treated her, he said. MacGregor also credited Sgt. Michael Quintel of the Grangeville Police Department with conducting a professional investigation that helped bring the case to court.
District Court Judge Gregory FitzMaurice set a sentencing date of June 7 and ordered Pilant to undergo a presentence investigation, which will examine his background before recommending a sentence. Pilant faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on the charge of injury to a child, and 15 years on the charge of aggravated battery of a child.
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