The attorney for a North Aurora man accused of burning an 18-month-old boy with a "caustic liquid" called the incident an "unfortunate accident" Friday, but said his client is not guilty of a crime.
Jason Barnes, 36, of the 700 block of Lloyd Lane, is charged with heinous battery and aggravated domestic battery in the Aug. 15, 2009, incident, which resulted in third-degree burns to the child's lower half and his toes being amputated.
Barnes' attorney, Frank Giampoli, did not discuss the case in detail but said his client never intended to harm the child. "We believe it was a very unfortunate accident," he said. "There was no culpability on Jason's behalf, and we intend to show that in court."
Barnes, who is related to the child, was indicted by a Kane County grand jury Dec. 1 on charges he poured a "caustic liquid" on the boy while standing near a sink. The boy's mother had filed an order of protection against Barnes in 2008, but he was granted visitation rights last May.
In court Friday, Barnes' attorney told Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon he is investigating whether he can continue to represent Barnes due to a potential conflict of interest.
Giampoli said his wife was a trauma coordinator at the hospital where the boy was treated for burns, and he spoke briefly to a doctor who treated the boy during a Christmas party last year, though the case itself never came up in conversations among them.
"I don't know of anything that would present a conflict," Giampoli said, noting his wife as trauma coordinator "would not be involved in the actual treatment of a patient."
The defense also is attempting to introduce a witness statement given by the boy's minor sister.
If convicted of the most serious offense, Barnes could be sentenced to six to 45 years in prison, or up to 60 years if he is eligible for an extended sentence. He was on probation for aggravated driving under the influence at the time of his arrest last year and has prior arrests for disorderly conduct and resisting police, according to court records.
Barnes is free on $500,000 bond and scheduled to return to court March 25.