LEWISTON – Cody A. Gossage will spend the next decade behind bars for killing his small son two years ago – reportedly by shaking the 5-month-old boy while baby-sitting.
The 22-year-old Gossage was sentenced Thursday on a count of second-degree murder, amended from an original charge of first-degree murder after a plea agreement was reached in June. Second District Judge Jay P. Gaskill sentenced Gossage to between 121/2 and 25 years in prison and gave him credit for the two years he has already served in the Nez Perce County Jail. The judge also imposed a $2,500 civil penalty for any costs the child’s family may have incurred.
Gossage chose not to address the court, but defense attorney Rob Kwate said the death of Jordan B. Bigman-Gossage at the hands of his father was a tragedy that happened in an instant and carried repercussions that will last a lifetime. Bigman-Gossage died on Oct. 29, 2014.
“This happened by a split-second action or reaction to anger or frustration and was completely out of character for Cody,” Kwate said.
He described his client as shy and passive with no previous criminal record.
His record, Kwate said, “went from nothing to first-degree murder charges.”
Gossage was watching over his child at the family’s home on the 1200 block of Bryden Avenue, where the incident occurred, according to court records. He told police he accidently dropped his son against the couch as he tried to calm him during a crying episode and accidently snapped back the child’s head when he picked him up. He then called paramedics and administered CPR. During interviews with police, he changed his story, telling officers he shook the boy, according to police reports. The child died two days later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle from skull tissue hemorrhaging, acute brain swelling, trauma and respiratory failure, all signs of whiplash, according to medical reports.
Nez Perce County Deputy Prosecutor April Smith read from an obituary to describe the child as “incessantly happy; his infectious smile lit up the room. He was known for his joyful laugh and his love of growling. Jordan was loved by many and possessed the ability to wrap people around his little fingers.”
She said the sentence was fitting, and added, “There is nothing the court system can do that can ever fix this tragedy.”
After his sentencing, Gossage, round-faced and shackled at the waist and ankles, turned and looked at family members in the audience. When sheriff’s deputies led him away, his chains jingling, he raised a hand slightly and waved.
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