April 5, 2011 -- A Georgia man has been fined $300 and sentenced to 12 months of probation for tattooing his toddler son.
Eugene "Stonner" Ashley, 26, pleaded guilty Monday to giving his 3-year-old son a tattoo on his shoulder in 2009 that said "DB" -- short for "Daddy's Boy." Ashley pleaded guilty before the case could be heard by a jury.
Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson called the tattooing of the boy "egregious," the Rome News-Tribune reported.
Patterson told the paper that it would have been difficult to take the case to a jury.
"I don't know if we would be able to elicit a testimony from a child," Patterson told the Rome News-Tribune.
The boy's mother, Amy Ashley, was not cooperative and refused to testify. She was the only witness other than the victim, Patterson said.
George Hawkins, the boy's uncle, has custody of the now 5-year-old child.
"He's doing good. He's got his problems with losing his family," Hawkins said.
Eugene Ashley is not allowed to see the child and the boy's mother, Amy Ashley, struggles with drug addiction and also lost custody, Hawkins said.
Before the discovery of the tattoo in May 2009, George Hawkins thought highly of Eugene Ashley.
"I've known him to go to work. He had 40 stitches in his foot and a broken arm, he'd work 12 to 16 hours a day, feed the kids, give them a bath and put them to bed and then clean the kitchen up," Hawkins said.
Ashley worked as a pressure washer for power companies throughout the South, Hawkins said.
Eugene Ashley is not the child's biological father, but adopted him when he and Amy Ashley were married.
The boy received the tattoo some time between January and May 5, 2009, according to court documents.
Officials from Georgia's Department of Family and Child Services noticed the tattoo while visiting the family's home, where the couple lived with their four children.
"He [Eugene Ashley] took full responsibility for giving the tattoo, but I think my niece should have been charged. Amy...was not charged with nothing. She tried to hide it. She put fake tattoos over it to try and hide it," Hawkins said.
Hawkins claims that Amy Ashley knew about the tattoo for months before Eugene was arrested.
Amy Ashley denies that. She previously told ABC Affiliate WSBTV that she didn't find out about the tattoo until Easter weekend of 2009.
Eugene Ashley told police that he was drunk and didn't remember tattooing the letters, WSBTV reported
The little boy still remembers getting the tattoo, Hawkins said.
When asked if the tattoo hurt, the boy says "a little bit," according to Hawkins.