Peter Draper sentenced in child abuse case

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By Tim McNicholas


Updated: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 05:45:09 CST

Peter Draper has been found guilty of taking his two–year–old grandson's life through child abuse.

Now he'll likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Draper's daughter testified in May that her father forced his knee into her child's stomach with all his weight.

An autopsy released last year showed the child died of blunt force trauma injury.

Draper, a 48–year–old from Naponee, was sentenced Thursday at the Franklin County Court House on two counts of child abuse.

60 years to life in prison is the punishment for the first count.

If he ever sees the end of that sentence, he'll immediately begin another of 49–50 years for the second.

The two counts Draper's charged with are child abuse with intentional injury and child abuse resulting in death.

He maintains his innocence.

"He did when he testified at trial and he still maintains his innocence,” says Charles Brewster, Draper’s attorney.

Brewster pointed out prior to the sentencing that his client seemed to have a harsh upbringing.

He admitted it's not an excuse but a possible explanation for his actions.

The defense also said that Draper is a man of limited education.

Brewster said Draper's actions were more accidental than intentional.

The state, on the other hand, reminded the judge that Joseph Rinehart Jr. will no longer go to school or pick out a Halloween costume.

A sentence of life in prison was requested by the state.

"It seemed to me that he certainly was not a criminal type of person that would qualify for a maximum sentence,” Brewster said.

Draper was found guilty by a jury on May 10th.

On Thursday, Draper said very little and kept his head down for much of the sentencing.

Brewster provided no additional evidence, nor did he request any changes to the pre–sentence.

The child's mother has been sentenced to 12 to 22 years.

Accused of passing up on several opportunities to report the abuse of her son, she’s currently appealing that sentence.