published Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Chattanooga man sentenced to 60 years in the death of his 3-year-old son

  • photo
    Reginald Tumlin listens during jury selection for his June trial in Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom. Tumlin has been charged with felony murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Family and friends of 32-year-old Reginald Tumlin sobbed and wailed in the courthouse hallway moments after a judge sentenced him to 60 years in the death of his 3-year-old son.

Tumlin, a validated member of the Dorris Street Bloods, was found guilty of aggravated child neglect, two counts of child abuse and one count of criminally negligent homicide in a June trial for the 2010 death of his son Jaylen Ramsey.

An autopsy report showed more than 50 bruises on the child's body, numerous lacerations and a healing burn on the back of his left thigh, bleeding on the brain and in the lungs.

The medical examiner listed "bowel perforation due to blunt force trauma" as the likely cause of death.

Tumlin's extensive criminal history meant that he would face a 40- to 60-year range of punishment on aggravated child neglect, the most serious of his convictions.

Tumlin was classified as a "career offender" for portions of his sentencing. He has multiple drug possession and sales convictions; probation violations; theft, burglary and vehicular homicide charges. He is an admitted drug dealer.

His attorney, Dan Ripper, argued that the jury did not find he intentionally killed Jaylen and that testimony in the trial showed he ensured the boy got to the hospital for treatment.

But Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern was not swayed and sentenced Tumlin to the maximum.

Tumlin will be parole eligible in 27 years but must then serve consecutive time on an estimated 20 years' worth of probation violations.

Prosecutor Charlie Minor said after the hearing that Tumlin is a "significant threat to our community" and the judge sentenced him appropriately.

"If anything, hopefully the rest of our community will understand what happened to Jaylen happens to children every day and we need to get involved," Minor said.

Contact staff writer Todd South at 423-757-6347 or tsouth@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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