LAWRENCE — A father previously jailed for breaking his daughter's skull is now charged with shaking his 3-month-old son and critically injurying the infant.
Alexis Medina, 23, of 4 Inman St., apt. 19, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with assault and battery on a child causing serious bodily injury.
His son had difficulty breathing and was later diagnosed by emergency room doctors as having "broken ribs, a broken vertebrae and other symptoms associated with shaken baby syndrome," Prosecutor Jennifer Kunsch said in court yesterday.
In 2008, Medina was sentenced to 18 months in jail for causing his daughter's skull fracture, according to court and police records.
Medina told police that in an effort to quiet the baby Tuesday morning, "he placed his son face down in his crib and pushed on his back until he became quiet and fell asleep." "Medina told us he had done that in the past and it has usually worked and his son would fall asleep," wrote Detective Paul MacMillan in a police report.
He told police he regularly played "rough" with his son and "may hug him too hard at times," according to the report.
Yesterday morning, as he stood in the prisoner's dock in the courtroom at Lawrence District Court, Medina's defense attorney, Steven Van Dyke of the Committee for Public Council Services, attempted to shield him from public view and a news photographer's camera.
Van Dyke had asked Judge Kevin Gaffney to allow Medina to stand behind a courtroom door and just listen to the arraignment proceedings yesterday morning. Gaffney rebuffed his request, however.
Gaffney ordered Medina held without bail until Jan. 7 for a probable cause hearing.
Police and paramedics went to Medina's Inman Street apartment at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday after receiving a report of an "infant not breathing."
Paramedics immediately started CPR while detectives were called to the scene to investigate, police said.
The baby was taken to Lawrence General Hospital and later to Tufts Medical Center in Boston. At 5:30 Tuesday night, Tufts personnel notified Lawrence police that the "infant was in critical condition," MacMillan wrote in his report.
MacMillan, along with Detective Brian Voisine and state troopers assigned to District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office, went to Tufts to interview Medina.
He said that around midnight the night before "his son would not sleep so he had squeezed him and shook him, trying to get him to fall asleep." Medina told police "he was tired and just wanted his son to sleep," MacMillan wrote in his report.
In the morning, when his son cried again, Medina said he did what he'd done before; put the infant face down in the crib and pushed on his back until he stopped crying.
Medina also told police he has problems with his wife, employment and money troubles.
After speaking with doctors, police arrested Medina and brought him back to the Lawrence police department Tuesday night for booking.
Attempts to reach the baby's mother were unsuccessful yesterday.