Roger Stephens

*Roger Stephens, the man who made headlines after repeatedly slapping a 2-year-old at a Stone Mountain, Ga. Wal-Mart, was sentenced to one year in jail Tuesday following a brief bench trial in Gwinnett County, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Stephens, 61, did not testify, but offered an apology to the girl’s family during the trial, which was held without a jury as agreed upon by prosecutors and the defense.

Stephens will be eligible for house arrest on March 1, though defense attorney Jeff Sliz told the AJC that the retired Georgia Power worker would have a hard time paying the accompanying $300 monthly fee.

The Aug. 2009 incident started when Stephens approached the girl’s mother as she was shopping at the Rockbridge Road store and said, “If you don’t shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you.”

A few moments later, Stephens grabbed the 2-year-old and slapped her across the face four or five times, according to the police report.

Sliz called his client’s behavior “the ultimate knee-jerk reaction.”

“He put his hands on a child when he clearly shouldn’t have, and he realizes that,” the attorney told the newspaper.