MONCKS CORNER — A magistrate on Friday set $100,000 bail for a father accused of neglecting his 7-year-old son, who weighed only 15 pounds in May.
Benny Lee Penninger Jr., 34, is charged with unlawful neglect by a legal custodian.
He appeared Friday before Magistrate James Polk after surrendering to Berkeley County sheriff's deputies Thursday night. Penninger, who did not have an attorney with him, did not comment other than to answer Polk's questions.
Polk set the same bail for Penninger that he set for his wife, 31-year-old Yolanda Yvette Pugh, days earlier. Pugh is facing the same charge. As of Friday, both were being held in the Berkeley County Detention Center.
An affidavit said Penninger failed to provide the boy with the proper nutrition and medication. It said the boy's doctor told investigators that the boy had not seen a doctor between November 2007 and May 2009.
The boy was hospitalized May 15 and weighed about 15 1/2 pounds. He was placed in foster care, and has gained 7 pounds.
Penninger's sister said Thursday that the child was born with severe brain damage and other conditions that prevent him from getting the proper nutrition he needs. Linda Penninger said he's only between 30 and 40 inches long and has never weighed more than 20 pounds, despite his parents attempts to add weight to his tiny frame.
Linda Penninger also denied that he hasn't been to a doctor.
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