Friday, 4 February 2011

SBS: New Jersey: historical case

January 30, 2011
The Pompton Lakes community was in shock as the story unfolded about a neighbor charged with murdering his infant son allegedly in a frenzied attempt to stop him from crying before the Super Bowl.
A 34-year-old father allegedly shook his son and dropped him while trying to keep him quiet. The man maintained that that his son’s death was an accident.
Even those wanting to believe the injuries sustained by 8-week-old baby on Sunday, Jan. 28 that led to his death two days later were an accident, they found his father’s actions difficult to understand, it was reported.
"Others rejected pity or compassion and felt only outrage as the circumstances of the man's actions were revealed day after day across their television screens and in their morning newspapers," reported Suburban Trends.
The man was initially charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a minor and child neglect. He was subsequently arraigned on those charges by Municipal Court Judge Stephen Lichon and the man was remanded to Passaic County Jail on $100,000 bail.
When the baby died, however, the charge against his father was upgraded to murder and he was arraigned in Passaic County Superior Court. He was subsequently released on $200,000 bail.
According to police officials, the man’s wife had left her husband at home briefly Sunday afternoon to do some shopping. The couple reportedly planned to host a small Super Bowl party later that day.
When she returned, police said, she noticed that the baby was unusually lethargic and called doctors. The couple subsequently took their infant son to Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pompton Plains, and he was then transported to the Morristown Memorial Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit due to the gravity of his condition.
The baby was placed on life support at Morristown Memorial and when doctors diagnosed his condition as possibly resulting from "'Shaken Baby Syndrome," they notified the Prosecutor’s Office.
Dr. David Bollard of Sparta Medical explained that Shaken Baby Syndrome is "the result of violently shaking a baby back and forth. It causes a hemorrhage at the base of the brain or it can tear the spinal cord at the base of the brain."
In diagnosing this condition, Dr. Bollard said, "You will usually find a pool of blood at the base of the brain and the infant will go into respiratory arrest and death will follow. The injury is equivalent to a hangman's fracture. The injury occurs when the brain is banged violently against the inside of the skull."
The man’s wife and 2-year-old daughter, as well as other family members and friends, were in court with him days later in a show of support of his contention, expressed by his attorney Kalman Geist, that the injuries the father apparently caused his son were accidental.
On Sept. 21, 2001, the man was convicted on one count of endangering the welfare of a minor and faced a maximum term of five years in prison. He was paroled on February 18, 2003.

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