Saturday, 15 January 2011

SBS: Alexis Medina: Massachusetts

 December 30, 2010 :  John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
A three-month-old boy has died after allegedly being violently handled by the infant’s father – a Lawrence man who was convicted of fracturing his daughter’s skull in 2008.

Alexis Medina booking photo.jpg
Lawrence police: Alexis Medina

Alexis Medina, 23, will be facing charges of murder for shaking the infant boy so hard that the child suffered broken ribs, a broken vertebra, and “other symptoms associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome,’’ according to Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office.
Lawrence police responded to Medina’s apartment on Inman Street Tuesday morning where they found the infant unresponsive. The child was rushed to Lawrence General Hospital and then transferred to Tufts New England Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday, according to Blodgett’s office.
The infant’s father was interviewed by State and Lawrence police at Tufts where the family had gathered, according to the police report. Medina first offered an innocent explanation – he was tossing the child and catching the infant. Police pressed him to explain how the child came to be so severely injured.
“Sometime around midnight, Medina said his son would not sleep so he squeezed him and shook him trying to get him to fall asleep,’’ according to the report. “Medina tells us he was tired and just wanted his son to go to sleep…He has had some problems with his wife, employment and money problems.’’
The child was placed in the crib, became quiet and apparently slept, according to the report. According to police, the child was born on Sept. 9 and was named Alex Medina.
But on Tuesday morning, the child was again too noisy for Medina.
“He told us he placed his son face down in his crib and pushed his on his back until he became quiet and fell asleep,’’ police wrote. “Medina told us that he done that in the past and it usually worked and his son would fall asleep…He told us that he sometimes gets rough with son and may hug him too hard at times.’’
According to police, Medina noticed something was wrong with the boy and asked his stepfather to give him a ride away from the apartment. Moments later, a relative called and said the infant was not breathing.
At that point, Medina returned to Inman Street around 10 a.m., but police and emergency medical personnel had responded and rushed the child to the hospital.
Medina, who gave a videotaped statement to police, also told investigators that he had “served jail time for causing a skull fracture’’ in his daughter when he was living in Methuen.
The children have different mothers, according to prosecutors.
According to prosecutors, Medina was ordered to serve 18 months at the Essex County House of Correction for the assault on his daughter.
According to state records, Medina was arrested by Methuen police in July 18, 2008 and was held on bail until July 30, 3008. He was returned to Essex County sheriff’s department custody on Aug. 15, 2008 as a pre-trial detainee.
Medina remained jailed until he was sentenced to 18 months in the Essex County House of Correction on Sept. 10, 2008 for convictions on assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and causing harm to a child, state records show.
Medina made at least one appearance before the Massachusetts Parole Board and was denied parole, according to the Patrick administration. Medina was released from the Essex county prison on Oct. 17, 2009 after serving the bulk of his sentence, state records show.
Medina was arraigned Wednesday in Lawrence District Court on the new assault and battery charges and was ordered held without bail.
Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said his department – and other police agencies – are not routinely notified that a person convicted of assaulting their child has been released from prison, moved into their community, and has access to children once again.
“If he finished his sentence, and then has another child, we wouldn’t even know that...It wouldn’t have been anything that trigger a notification to us,’’ Romero said in a telephone interview today.
He added, “one has to wonder why there wasn’t anything preventing this individual from being near children given his history…That’s a question better posed’’ to the Department of Children and Families.
Romero said police initially thought the child had died from natural causes, but after learning about Medina’s violent past, and hearing from doctors about the boy’s injuries, police shifted their attention to the boy’s father.
“It was evident there was sufficient evidence to charge him,’’ Romero said. "It;s just a tragic story, a terrible story.''

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