Pasco father gets 30 years for child abuse

Boy was left severely handicapped

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - Lukuz Gelb isn't able to ask his father what happened that day four years ago, when he was two months old. So his grandfather did it for him.

"Why did you do this to me?  Didn't you love me.  I only cried because I was hungry and needed my diaper changed," said Steinar Lero, who wheeled Lukuz next to him standing in front of the judge.

Jonathan Gelb was found guilty of aggravated child abuse last month, but before sentencing he stood by his story that he did not harm his little baby boy nicknamed Lucky.

"I neglected Lucas, but I didn't abuse him," said Gelb.

During the trial, Gelb's attorney said it was a seizure that led to Lukuz's severe brain damage. 

But evidence showed, along with head injuries, the baby had broken bones in his legs.

His mother Leann Rodriguez said she came home from work that night in 2008 to find Lukuz struggling to breathe and Gelb doing nothing to help him.

"My son will never be able to walk, talk, crawl, do anything like his brothers or sister. The horrible day will forever be in my entire family's hearts," said Rodriguez.

Gelb's attorney asked Judge Mary Handsel for a 15-year sentence, but she went with the maximum instead, handing down a 30-year sentence.

It's what the family wanted, although they say 30 years still isn't enough.

"I just pray at some point, you'll be able to look at yourself and no what you did was wrong. If not for your sake, for his," said Rodriguez.

Lukuz's family says they don't know about his long term prognosis, and everyday they have with him is an answered prayer. They also hope this is the last time they have to bring him into a courtroom.

You can follow Lukuz's progress and help raise awareness for shaken baby syndrome by joining Lukuz's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/125552214203363/307261509365765/?notif_t=group_activity
 

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