Sentencing for Stanton Man Who Let Baby Burn in Hot Water Leaves Residents Frustrated

by Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

STANTON- New details have emerged this week with the Stanton man who, in initial reports, immersed a baby boy in scalding hot water, causing him to suffer from 3rd degree burns.

Dominick Peña was arrested and has since pled guilty to injuring his girlfriend's 18 month-old child. He will serve 180 days in a state prison. After that, he'll return in front of a judge who will then determine, based on Peña's behavior, if he'll go back to prison for seven and a half years, or just get seven and a half years of probation. An overwhelming number of NewsWest 9 viewers said that even giving Peña the possibility of probation after just six months in prison is simply not alright.

Almost 200 NewsWest 9 viewers expressed outrage on our Facebook page over Peña's sentencing.

Around Stanton, residents NewsWest 9 spoke with said this man did not get served with even close to what he deserved.

One gentlemen says, "You call him a man? I think somebody [should] do the same thing to him."

Another local says, "He's getting slapped on the wrist. It's not right."

And, yet, another local says, "It was gruesome. His skin was all white with red blotches. You could tell where he had been burned. If it was my kid, and [Peña] would have done that, I would have wanted him to serve a life sentence. That would have been my decision."

However, the Howard County District Attorney's Office explained to NewsWest 9 why they believe the punishment, after much investigation, does fit the crime. They report Peña had a clean record and showed remarkable remorse. Also, the baby's burns were not as severe as investigators initially thought. He didn't need any skin grafting and was left without scarring.

Now that the case is closed, the Stanton Police Department opened up to us with alarming details. Peña first told police he accidentally spilled hot water on the baby while he was cooking.

Then, his story changed.

Stanton Police Chief, Fred Schroyer, says, "While [Peña was] caring for the child, he was playing video games. He became somewhat agitated with the child fusing and crying and put the child in the bathtub with the intent to give him a bath and put him in bed."

Peña then turned on mostly hot water and left the bathroom to continue with his video game in another room.

"He then returned to care for the child upon hearing the child cry and at that time the water in the bathtub was actually steaming and the child had already been burned by the hot water," Schroyer said.

Stanton police officers arrested Peña. Meanwhile, the baby was airlifted to a burn center in Lubbock.

Peña is currently being held in a solitary cell at the Martin County jail until a bed is ready for him in a state prison.