Thursday, 30 August 2012

SBS: Christopher List charged

A Washington man has been accused of severely abusing his 3-month-old daughter.
Christopher List, 33, of 205 S. Elm St. has been charged in Tazewell County court with aggravated battery to a child.
According to court records, he admitted violently shaking the baby and throwing her down on the bed so hard Aug. 18 that she bounced off and hit her head.
List at first told authorities the child had suffered injuries as part of an accident, but an examination of the child revealed bleeding in the brain, bruising of the brain and retinal hemorrhaging, which are injuries typically associated with shaken baby syndrome, court records said.
The charge is a Class X felony that carries a possible prison sentence of up to 30 years if List is found guilty.
List's bond was set at $250,000 Thursday, so he must post 10 percent of that amount to get out of jail. His preliminary hearing has been set for Sept. 20.

SBS: Mijail Alejandro-Torres held

Draper father arrested in shaking death of 1-month-old son

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 28 2012 2:45 p.m. MDT
DRAPER — A father who initially told police Friday his baby nearly drowned in a bathtub was arrested after the boy died on Sunday.
Mijail Alejandro Russell-Torres, 24, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated murder for allegedly shaking the boy violently.
Russell-Torres called 911 Friday afternoon, claiming his 1-month-old son had drowned while he was bathing him in his Draper home near 13000 S. Pinnacle Way. "He was calm when he told me the story and showed no emotion," a responding officer wrote in a jail report.
The baby was not breathing when he was transported by medical helicopter to Primary Children's Medical Center.
During an investigation, doctors at the hospital told Draper police that the baby was showing signs of shaken-baby syndrome, including a head injury, the report states. Doctors said the baby showed no signs of drowning.
When asked about the doctors' findings, Russell-Torres admitted holding the baby and violently shaking him forward and backward, according to the report. He allegedly told police he realized he hurt the baby after it started showing other signs of illness, which is when he gave the baby a bath. It wasn't until the baby turned cold and stopped breathing that Russell-Torres called 911, the report states.
Shaken-baby syndrome is a term used to describe the trauma experienced by an infant after being severely shaken. There is rarely any visible injuries, but spinal-cord injuries, permanent brain damage and death are often the result of the crying-induced child abuse.

SBS: Matthew Johnson, North Attleboro, held

Aug 29, 2012.
NORTH ATTLEBORO — The couple accused in a child abuse case involving a friend’s 1-month-old daughter has lost custody of their own 2-year-old son because of the allegations against them.
Meanwhile, the 2-year-old’s father, Matthew D. Johnson, 22, of 8 Falmouth St. in North Attleboro, was ordered held in jail on $100,000 cash bail this afternoon after he pleaded innocent in Attleboro District Court to assault and battery on a child causing serious bodily injuries.
Johnson’s son was placed in the custody of a relative by the state Department of Children and Families after the incident was reported Aug. 17, according to police and the state agency.
Johnson and his girlfriend, Eden M. Beauregard, 22, of the same address, have been ordered to have no contact with their son, officials said.
Johnson is accused of abusing their friend’s 1-month-old daughter earlier this month, causing a brain injury, bruises and six rib fractures while he and Beauregard were babysitting the child.
A doctor told police the injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome, but Johnson told investigators that he tripped over a child’s toy and accidentally dropped the child, according to authorities.
The baby, Braelynn Barbato of Cumberland, is now out of the intensive care unit but was still at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence today, according to police.
As a condition of his bail, Judge Daniel O’Shea also ordered Johnson to have no contact with the infant at the request of prosecutors.
Johnson and Beauregard also face charges of permitting substantial injuries to a child and reckless endangerment of a child. Beauregard, who is not charged with assaulting the baby, will be summonsed to court at a later date.
She left court without comment chased by a horde of reporters.
Neighbors who did not want to give their names said today they were shocked by the allegations.
One woman, who said she does not believe the charges, said Beauregard and Johnson were a “very nice couple” and that Johnson would help cut lawns in the neighborhood.
“If I was a character witness, I would stand by him 100 percent,” the woman said. “I never saw him hit anybody, not even his own kid.”
On the other hand, one man was angered by the allegations.
“That’s nuts. I hope they hang him,” the man said.
The couple has been under investigation since Aug. 17 when police and firefighters responded to a 911 call at the couple’s home for a medical emergency and then noticed bruises on the baby.
When police and fire officials arrived they smelled the odor of marijuana in the house, but Johnson denied smoking any marijuana, Assistant District Attorney Carla Sauvignon said in court.
When rescue personnel examined the baby, they confronted Johnson about bruises on the child’s legs.
“Mr. Johnson could not explain the bruises,” Sauvignon said.
More extensive injuries were discovered at the hospital and the child was placed on a ventilator at one point, the prosecutor said.
Sauvignon requested $500,000 cash bail, citing the severe injuries to the child and the seriousness of the allegations. She gave photos of the baby taken at the hospital for the judge to review.
But Johnson’s lawyer, Daniel Rich of Norton, said Johnson has only a minor arrest record and would return to court as required. He said prosecutors were asking high bail because of the media attention the case has generated.
He noted Johnson cooperated with police and even turned himself in at the police station when he was told they obtained an arrest warrant for him.
“When this incident happened, he immediately called 911,” Rich said.
Rich requested a lower bail that Johnson could afford. He said Johnson suffered a serious back injury in a car accident and is scheduled for an operation next month.
O’Shea responded that Johnson can appeal his bail in superior court or ask for a reduction later in district court. He is due back in court on Sept. 14.


SIDS: UK: Baby died in car seat

A FOUR-MONTH-OLD baby who regularly slept in her car seat inside her home died of natural causes, an inquest heard.
Lily Aitken died at home in Edmund Road, Spondon, after sleeping in the seat for an extended amount of time.
Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner's Court heard she was found lifeless by her parents, Luke Aitken and Emma Buckby, at about 3pm on Sunday, April 8.
Lily's car seat was often brought indoors for her to sleep in as she did not settle in her Moses basket and liked, her mother said, to be squashed up – a luxury that her car seat allowed.
The court heard that Lily had slept overnight in the seat and had woken up at six on the morning of her death to be fed and changed.
She then went back to sleep until around noon, when she was fed and changed again, and then went back to sleep.
It was at around 2.45pm when her parents became aware that they had not heard anything from her.
When they checked on Lily, she was lifeless.
The emergency services were called and attempted to resuscitate her.
She was taken to hospital but pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
An investigation was led by Andrew Wright, from Derbyshire Police, who gave evidence in court.
He said: "There was no question of suspicious circumstances surrounding Lily's death. She was a well cared for, healthy little girl. There was nothing out of the ordinary surrounding her care.
"Social services were involved with the family and there were no concerns."
Dr Mudher Al-Adnani, a paediatric pathologist, carried out the post-mortem examination on Lily and found nothing to explain her death.
He said: "The only thing I noticed what that Lily was small for her age, but I knew that she was premature so this is not unusual.
"She was fully developed and was in good health. She seemed to be a normal four-month-old baby."
Dr Al-Adnani said that he could not conclude that Lily died of cot death because she was not in her cot or Moses basket at the time and said she died of natural causes.
He said: "The medical advice is that babies are not to be left to sleep in their car seats for a long period of time.
"We do not know if being in her car seat was anything to do with Lily's death. It could just be a coincidence and this could have happened anyway."
Deputy Coroner Louise Pinder ruled that Lily died of sudden infant death syndrome due to natural causes and returned a narrative verdict.
She said: "Nothing in the post-mortem examination could explain Lily's death. Lily died as a result of sudden infant death syndrome but because of potentially unsafe sleeping circumstances."

SIDS: Vanessa Clark sentenced

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012 1:54 pm | Updated: 10:33 am, Fri Aug 24, 2012.

A Lufkin mother on Thursday was sentenced to one month shy of 10 years in prison in connection with the July 2010 co-sleeping death of her 4-month-old son.
Baby Tristan was Vanessa Clark’s second child to die while sharing a king-sized bed with her and her husband Mark. Following the 2009 death of 1-month-old Christian, which was ruled Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Child Protective Services advised the couple not to share their bed with any future children, according to previous reports.

For the first time since the case began, Clark took the stand in her own defense Thursday, claiming it was never her intention to fall asleep with the baby in the bed. She went on to say that being up all hours of the night with a newborn while continuing to care for the couple’s 3-year-old was exhausting.
“I fell asleep. It was not intentional,” Clark said. “He has to fall asleep beside me. Once I put him in the bassinet, he woke back up and I put him back in bed with me. I had no idea I was going to fall asleep.”
Clark’s husband was tried on the same charge in May, but a jury found him not guilty. Prosecutor Dale Summa put Mark Clark on the stand Thursday, questioning him about his wife’s judgment on the night in question.
“You told your wife to place the baby in the bassinet. Is that true?” Summa asked.
“Yes. Before I fell asleep, he was in the bed,” he said.
Summa went on to question Mark Clark about his wife’s treatment of their 3-year-old at the time their infant died. After answering “she was hard on him, but nothing serious,” Mark Clark called upon his attorney Bill Agnew for a private discussion.
Agnew then announced his client wished to invoke his spousal privilege to prevent him from testifying against his wife.
“He only wants to testify about what he legally has to and nothing else,” Agnew said.
Summa went on to question Mark Clark about the couple’s home life, going back to the night in question and his wife’s prescription drug addiction.
“When you’re a mother, you’re going to stay up half the night taking care of the baby. I’m not going to say the medication did it,” he said.
After hearing from a few of Clark’s family members, her attorney, John Reeves, called her to stand to address her previous criminal history, the five years she spent in prison and her oldest son, who has been raised by her grandparents.
“I’m not the person I used to be. Prison changed me,” she said. “Please don’t take me away from my children. My son starts school Monday and I would like to be there for that.”
In cross examination, Summa asked Clark about her tanning while she was pregnant with baby Tristan.
“How important was it for you to get that tan?” Summa asked Clark.
“It wasn’t vital. Just something cosmetic. I didn’t have to have it,” she said. “My doctor told me it was OK after my third month.”
“And who was that?” Summa asked.
“I can’t recall because I saw so many doctors,” she said.
All of the testimony was completed around 1:30 p.m. Because of a previous aggravated assault conviction, Clark’s child endangerment charge was enhanced from a state jail felony to a third-degree felony.
Given all the facts of the case, White was then faced with deciding whether Clark merited probation or spending up to 10 years in prison. Clark stood, trembling, as White announced her sentence — 119 months in prison. She immediately began sobbing as her husband clasped his head in his hands crying.
White told Clark the case is about more than just co-sleeping, bringing attention to her abuse of Xanax and hydrocodone.
“I may be painted as a home wrecker, but you had the capacity of doing that on your own,” White said. “Understand this is not about the illegality of co-sleeping, it is about a number of factors you had in your life. Unlike you, I cannot ignore the prior episode.”
He went on to tell Clark that her sentence — 9 years and 11 months — means she will be eligible for bond upon filing an appeal because he had the foresight to sentence her one month shy of 10 years in prison.
“If you walk away with an appeal bond, are you going to make a media exploitation of this?” he asked her. “Do you know what I mean?”
“Yes, get on national TV,” she said, shaking her head.
In May, Clark and her husband appeared on Inside Edition to talk about the case.
“I have sympathy and empathy for anyone who loses a child,” White said, “but my concern for children always trumps that of an adult.”
With his wife put in the custody of Angelina County, Mark Clark said they will likely hire their own attorney on the appeal to get her out of jail as quickly as possible on a $10,000 bond.
Jessica Cooley’s email address is