A 22-year-old Indiana man faces a possible life sentence without parole for the murder of a eight-week-old child.
Jaquail Iman Smith, of Kokomo, was charged with murder, aggravated battery and violent manslaughter on Wednesday (22 November). Prosecutors are requesting a life sentence without parole, Fox59 reported.
Kokomo Police reported to a call at Howard Regional Hospital on 8 November at 8.30pm about a child with serious head injuries. According to Fox 59, hospital staff notified the Department of Child Services (DCS), which then informed police.
A responding officer arrived at the hospital and medical staff were preparing to transport the child to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health via helicopter.
The officer saw marks on the baby boy's face, legs and torso. The child also had a large haematoma on the back of his head.
The victim suffered multiple skull fractures, along with fractures to other bones in various states of healing, court documents reveal.
The baby's mother, who was at the hospital, spoke to police and said the boy was with Smith, her boyfriend, at the time of the injuries. Smith is not the biological father, Fox 59 noted. The mother told police she and a friend ran some errands around 5.20pm and the baby with Smith, who was playing video games.
She said she came home around 7pm and found her son still in bed and Smith in the room with him. Smith reportedly told her that the baby had stopped breathing, but that he had got him to start again and he was okay.
The mother said she noticed the baby's head was swollen, but said Smith claimed he did not know about it. The couple took the baby to the hospital.
Smith told police he played games for an hour when he checked on the baby, who was not breathing. He said he shook the baby, but got no response. He then pinched in between the infant's fingers and cheeks before the baby began breathing again.
He told police he changed the boy's diaper and went back to playing video games before the boy's mother got home. Smith denied knowing how the baby got such severe injuries and said that they appeared while he was watching the baby. He claimed he did not cause the injuries.
Police noted other inconsistencies with Smith's story. The boy died on 9 November from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Marion County Coroner. Smith was arrested Wednesday (22 November) with a bond set at $500,000.