Shortly after his arrest, McLaughlin tried to commit suicide in a police station holding cell.
Strasnick had urged a prison term of three to four years, noting that the injuries to the baby were not the result of a single incident but an indication of a man with an out-of-control temper.
McLaughlin’s lawyer, William O’Hare, suggested that the shorter jail term proposed by Whitehead “showed compassion” for his client, who, he said, has suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety since the age of 5.
O’Hare said the incidents were triggered by McLaughlin’s “immaturity and frustration.”
Whitehead said he also took into account the fact that McLaughlin confessed, that he expressed a desire to plead guilty soon after he was indicted and that he’s been receiving counseling.
The baby has recovered and is back living with her mother.
McLaughlin’s mother was the only family member in court yesterday.
McLaughlin, who has been in custody since his arrest last April, will be eligible for parole in about three months.
Once he’s released, he will be on supervised probation for five years, with conditions that include anger-management and parenting classes, a mental health evaluation and treatment, and a requirement that he comply with all requirements of the Department of Children and Families.
The case was one of two involving young fathers accused of abusing their children while playing Xbox during a period of several months in 2011 and 2012. In October 2011, 22-year-old Richard Elias of Peabody was charged with head-butting, shaking and squeezing his 7-week-old daughter while his wife was at a Halloween party. Elias is due in court for a status hearing in his case later this month.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.