Austell man denied bond in child cruelty case

Doorway to magistrate court, the court which conducts eviction hearings

By Caleb Groves

On Tuesday, January 2, 2024, Cobb County Magistrate Court Judge Michael McLaughlin denied bond for an Austell man who was charged with eight counts of child cruelty in the first degree.

The Cobb County Police Department executed a search warrant on the defendant’s cell phone, where they found four videos of child cruelty, two from Oct. 3, 2023, and two from Oct. 5, 2023. All of the videos were filmed at the Austell man’s residence, Detective Mallory Jessup of the Cobb County Police Department said.

Jessup provided her testimony and described what was depicted in the videos. One video depicted the 1-year-old child being hung from a barbell by the hood of his hoodie, crying and trying to get down.

The second video from the same day depicts adult fingers forcefully being shoved up the child’s nose and then being picked up and thrown onto the ground twice at chest-level height from the ground. Lastly, the child was picked up by the diaper, hung upside down and thrown onto the ground again.

The man has no prior criminal history and said he was unaware of the videos on his phone.

The police department is in the process of obtaining medical records for the child after the mother of the child took in the child for medical assistance for a jaw injury in October.

However, the medical records could take anywhere from 30 to 60 days, Jessup said.

After discussion, Judge McLaughlin was hesitant to set bond due to the Austell man’s behavior around a 1-year-old, despite his clean criminal history. The mother of the child did not provide input into what to set the bond at.

McLaughlin denied bond and decided to reconvene about the case on Jan. 31, 2024, to take a look again, when the court has access to the medical records of the child.

[The Cobb County Courier has a policy of withholding or redacting the name of suspects unless and until the person is convicted in a court of law or enters a plea of guilty. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty, and the internet has no effective way of removing reports of arrest if the person is exonerated. We do make exceptions in high-profile cases or charges against public officials where exoneration is likely to be as widely publicized as the initial arrest]

Caleb Groves is a Journalism student at Kennesaw State University, where he is a junior.

Originally from Minnesota, Caleb moved to Georgia with his family, where he now lives in Woodstock with his Father, Stepmom and numerous pets.

When he is not in writing, in class or coaching rock climbing, he spends his time listening to music and rock climbing both indoors and out