Cary man accused of fracturing infant’s arm and causing brain injuries will stay in jail

His attorney said the state failed to prove Tristan Johnson ‘committed acts that led to the baby’s injuries’

Tristan Johnson

A Cary man accused of seriously injuring a 1-month-old child will remain in the McHenry County jail, according to a judge’s order that states the man has “untreated mental health issues.”

Tristan Johnson, 22, is charged with two counts of aggravated battery of a child younger than 13, Class X felonies.

If convicted, Johnson faces up to 30 years in prison.

Johnson has been in the county jail since his arrest in July, before the SAFE-T Act took effect, on $500,000 bond, of which he would have had to post $50,000 to be released. He sought to be released Friday under the new act, which ended the use of cash bail.

Johnson is accused of fracturing the child’s arm and causing a subdural hematoma and seizures, according to the indictment filed in the McHenry County court.

However, his attorney, Brian Stevens, said Friday that Johnson “should not have been detained pending trial” and that he will appeal the judge’s ruling.

Stevens said the state based its argument for detention on “a lengthy and coercive interrogation by police, where my client asked multiple times if he could go home.”

Johnson provided details to police “to the best of his recollection,” and police told him that they didn’t believe him, Stevens said.

“Ultimately,” Johnson provided a statement “that fit their theory of the case,” the attorney said.

In denying Johnson’s release, Judge Tiffany Davis wrote that she considered his past criminal history and arrest for domestic violence, for which he was on pretrial release at the time the child was injured.

She also considered his mental health.

Davis noted that Johnson, who has served as a U.S. Marine and a Reservist, has a history of depression and has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. She considered the threat to the baby as well as the person named in the domestic violence case, she said.

The judge said she also considered statements that Johnson made in text messages in which he allegedly provided “several inconsistent statements” as to how the baby was injured.

He made admissions, then denials, that he “knew anything” about his injuries, she said.

He also made statements that “he needed help and didn’t want it to happen again,” the judge wrote.

Davis considered the child’s medical condition as a result of the alleged abuse. The child, the judge wrote, has a fractured arm, subdural hematoma and suffers from seizures.

On or between June 15 and June 22, Johnson injured the baby by fracturing his arm by “reckless actions of manipulating the child and caused the need for the child to be taken to the hospital for medical care,” according to the criminal complaint.

He also was accused of “holding the child around the child’s torso and rocking the child side-to-side in an aggressive manner without supporting the child’s neck and head in a way to cause an injury to the child’s head and brain,” according to the complaint.

The Cary Police Department became involved after receiving information from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services regarding the baby, according to a Cary police news release at the time of Johnson’s arrest.

Police learned that the child had been taken to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington by a parent the evening of June 22 after he started experiencing seizures or a similar medical event, police said.

The child then was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where he was placed in the pediatric intensive care unit for more advanced medical care.

It was learned that the child suffered a broken arm and a brain injury, which prompted the criminal investigation into the child’s injuries, police said.