Thursday, 24 March 2011

SBS: Mississippi: Sean Alexander charged capital murder

Madison County authorities are looking into a previous case in which a man charged this week with killing his girlfriend's 23-month-old child may have been involved in a similar crime.
The results of an autopsy show Janila Banks of Ridgeland died as a a result of blunt-force trauma. Charges against Sean Arlandis Alexander, 35, of Jackson were upgraded from felony child abuse to capital murder Wednesday when the child died as a result of injuries police said she suffered at his hands.
And while details are still vague, authorities are waiting to receive information on what potentially could be a similar case.
"What I've been aware of was charges in another state several years ago. For whatever reason, those charges weren't pursued," said Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest. "I'm not aware of any similar charges locally. But Ridgeland Police Department is trying to obtain the investigative file from that agency."
Guest said he believes the case may have been in North Carolina. Ridgeland police were not available for comment after 5 p.m. Thursday.
Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland said the autopsy, which was completed Thursday afternoon, showed Janila's manner of death is consistent with homicide resulting from traumatic injuries.
Police had said early on that the death could be a case of "shaken baby syndrome," but Ridgeland Police Chief Jimmy Houston said the child was killed by blunt-force trauma to the head, making the case much more complicated than a "shaken baby" case.
"We're charging him with everything we can charge him with," Houston said. "I wish we could charge him with more."
Guest said the injuries, as he understood them, could not have simply come from being shaken.
"Ultimately (the medical examiner) ruled that the cause of death was consistent with the child's head being struck by an individual or struck against something," he said.
Janila's injuries are believed to have occurred when her mother stepped out of the apartment to help bring another child in from the car. Officials said that during that time Janila was left alone with Alexander. He admitted to police that he was left alone with her but he did not elaborate on what happened during that time.
Authorities say they believe the toddler's injuries occurred around 12:30 p.m. Sunday at OakBrook Apartments.
Police said when the mother, whose name has not been released, came back into the apartment, the child began to have what she thought were seizures. She took Janila to the hospital, and emergency room personnel alerted police that it was a case of child abuse.
Janila had a bruised rib cage and bleeding from her brain, officials said early on. After investigators spoke with Alexander and the mother, they arrested Alexander on Monday morning.
Guest said Alexander's preliminary hearing will be held in Ridgeland Municipal Court on March 28.
"Assuming there's enough evidence found to bind him over, and I do expect there will be, his case will be sent to grand jury, possibly in April," Guest said.

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