Thursday, 7 April 2011

SBS: North Carolina: Christopher Durant charged with murder

GREG ARGOS  April 1, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The family and friends of the man accused of killing his 4-month-old boy say they're shocked that 33-year-old Christopher Durant is being charged with murder.
"Chris is a wonderful person," said his sister Angela Durant.  "He comes from a great family, a Christian family. He's a great father for all of his kids."
Angela and four of Durant's friends attended his first court appearance where the judge informed him of his charges and his next court dates.
"It's very hard to see him [incarcerated]," Angela said between tears. "We're here for him."
Officers arrested Durant at his home on Ventura Way Thursday morning. He is charged him with murdering his 4-month-old baby. The young boy was rushed to Presbyterian Hospital Thursday night where he died from traumatic head injuries. Hospital workers say it appears the boy was abused and might have died from shaken baby syndrome.
"[Shaken baby syndrome] causes severe brain damage and death as you know," said Brett Loftis, the executive director of Council for Children's Rights, a child advocacy group.
Loftis says as a new parent, Durant should have been required to learn about the dangers of shaking his child, even before leaving the hospital.
"Parents are now mandated to get [shaken baby syndrome training] at the hospital when they have a baby. So this family should have gotten that information with a DVD and everything," he explained.
Investigators say Durant apparently didn't follow that advice. Now his 4-month-old is dead, and Durant's sister is left defending her brother.
"I just have to pray and our family will continue to pray for him," she said.
Durant is scheduled to appear in court for a bond hearing on April 11. His probable cause hearing is set for April 18.

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