By Dave Pearce
Timothy Alexander Lear was sentenced in Posey Superior Court on Friday to 60 years for the Valentine’s Day murder of his 4-month-old son.
“The judge looked at his criminal history…his background, the nature of the offense and the youth of the victim” Posey County Prosecutor Travis Clowers said of the sentence. “And the grandmother (Sandy Thompson) of the victim read a letter to the court during the sentencing hearing.”
It took a jury only about an hour in July to find Timothy Alexander “Alex” Lear, 25, guilty of murdering his 4-month-old son, Bryson James Clardy, in February of 2011. Lear was also found guilty of the charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and battery on a child resulting in death, both Class A felonies.
With good time credit, Lear could conceivably be released in half that time but Clowers said good time credit is not automatic.
“He is eligible for good time credit but good time is figured by the Indiana Department of Corrections so to say he will receive good time credit isn’t a certainty. He may get it and he may not,” Clowers concluded.
According to testimony at the trial, 13 separate injuries were documented on the infant, including brain damage and bruises that medical experts had testified were from somebody holding and squeezing the baby tightly, as well as a bruise on his forehead, a fist-sized bruise on the stomach and a spiral fracture of the arm, consistent with arm twisting.
A jury of seven women and five men served in the trial where jury selection began on Monday of this week in Posey Circuit Court.
“The maximum sentence that Lear could have received for this offense was 65 years and he received 60 years,” Clowers said. “Nothing is going to bring Bryson back but it is very comforting to know that a very dangerous person is not going to be in our community for a very long time.”
According to Mount Vernon Police Chief Grant Beloat, on the evening of Feb. 14, 2011, at approximately 7:20 p.m., the Mount Vernon Police Department responded to Apt. No. 53 at Green Valley Apartments on the north side of the town. Beloat said the Posey County EMS and the Mount Vernon Fire Department also responded to the call.
“The call was in response to the call that a four-month-old child who was not breathing and was unresponsive,” Beloat said. “The child received medical attention and was transported to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville at approximately 8:03 p.m. The child received medical attention at that facility and was then transferred to Deaconess Gateway Hospital in Warrick County where at approximately 11:45, the child was pronounced dead.”
Lear had been babysitting for his child and another three-year-old child of the woman on the date of the death while the mother was at work. The other child had left the residence at some prior time that day.
Beloat continued that local officials had been working with the office of the Warrick County Coroner and former Mount Vernon resident Eddie Goff. An autopsy was conducted and it was determined that the cause of death was a homicide.
Goff indicated that the child had a fractured upper arm, brain swelling and multiple other bruises.
“Upon investigation, my deputies found that there was significant cause to perform an autopsy on this individual,” Goff said. “Trauma was found in multiple areas of the body of the child.”
“Anytime you are dealing with the death of anyone, you always know there is a family behind that death and it breaks one’s heart,” Goff said at the time. “But when you are dealing with a four-month-old child, it tears at you emotionally. It is hard for myself, as the coroner, and my deputies. But we have a job to do and we are doing that thoroughly and working seamlessly with the law enforcement community in Posey County.”
Beloat confirmed that Lear does have a prior criminal history, but that there had never been a call involving this child. He indicated that Lear had been at home with the child since the mother had left for work at around noon.
In the four years preceding his arrest on murder charges, Lear has had a half dozen protective orders filed against him. He also has spent time in the Vanderburgh County Jail for battery, confinement and intimidation.
“I have been in very close contact with the family throughout this entire ordeal and nothing is going to fill that hole in their hearts but they are ready to put the court proceedings behind them and to honor the memory of Bryson,” Clowers said. “Hopefully the family can begin at this point to move forward.”
By Dave Pearce
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