News - McHenry County

Woodstock man pleads guilty to causing physical ‘trauma’ to baby girl, sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison

Inset of Eric H. Hanstad in front of Northwest Herald file of the McHenry County courthouse.

A 39-year-old Woodstock man pleaded guilty Wednesday to injuring a baby girl in 2019 causing her serious physical “trauma” and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and one year of mandatory supervised release.

Eric H. Hanstad waived his rights to a jury trial that was set to begin Monday and instead entered into a negotiated plea of guilty to two counts of an amended charge of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, a Class 3 felony.

When Hanstad was arrested in March 2020, he initially was charged with two counts of aggravated domestic battery to a child under the age of 13 causing permanent disability, a Class X felony. Had he been convicted of the Class X felony, he could have been sentenced to between six and 30 years in prison.

The Class 3 felony to which he pleaded carries a sentencing range between two and five years in prison, up to 12 months of mandatory supervised release and up to $25,000 in fines.

Hanstad also was sentenced to an additional year of felony probation and is required to register as a violent offender against youth, abstain from alcohol and drugs during probation, submit to alcohol and drug testing and attend anger management and parenting classes. He is ordered to have no contact with the victim or her mother until he completes the terms of his mandatory supervised release and felony probation, McHenry County Judge James Cowlin said.

He also must pay $6,669.15 in fines and fees, according to the sentencing order filed in McHenry County courthouse.

He will receive credit for 475 days served in the McHenry County jail, Cowlin said.

Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein said she informed the mother of the negotiated plea deal.

Prosecutors allege that on or about Sept. 12 and Nov. 29, 2019, Hanstad caused the baby great bodily harm by shaking or striking her, causing bleeding in her brain, multiple skull fractures, retinal hemorrhages, bruises to her right inner ear and swelling of her neck, according to court documents.

The baby was taken to the hospital on or about Nov. 29 when doctors discovered the baby’s injuries, which also included evidence of chronic brain bleeding and abusive head trauma that was “not accidental trauma,” Eisenstein said.

Medical staff determined that the trauma to the infant was intentional and consistent with having been “violently shaken,” according to a news release from the Woodstock Police Department at the time the baby was taken to the hospital and they were searching for Hanstad in order to arrest him.