This case is more typical than not. This is what happens when you combine a babysitting father like ALLEN R. WALKER JR., a man with a history of domestic assault, and a mom who had to work (probably because Daddy can't or won't get a job). The baby was only 7-weeks old when Daddy "allegedly" killed him by smashing his skull, creating a fatal brain injury.
Batterers shouldn't be around children. Period. And they especially shouldn't be assigned "primary" care of children.
Cape Girardeau infant's death leads to murder charges against father
Sunday, August 29, 2010
By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian
The death of a 7-week-old infant has culminated in murder charges for the baby's father, Allen R. Walker Jr., who prosecutors are saying killed his son by fracturing the baby's skull and causing severe brain damage.
The infant died Thursday evening at Children's Hospital in St. Louis, and an autopsy was performed Friday morning by Dr. Jane Turner, an assistant medical examiner for St. Louis. After the autopsy report was filed Friday afternoon, Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle upgraded the charges from first-degree assault to second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child.
Swingle declined to comment outside a news release and a copy of the charges.
Walker, 21, remained in custody Saturday at the Cape Girardeau County Jail in Jackson on a $250,000 cash-only bond, set by Circuit Judge Ben Lewis.
Cape Girardeau County Coroner John Clifton said the autopsy shows the baby's death was the result of intentional trauma.
"The child certainly did not die of natural causes," Clifton said. "He also did not die from any accidental reasons."
Second-degree murder carries a sentence ranging from 10 years to life in prison. if convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, Walker could be sentenced to seven years.
Turner said her findings do not suggest an accidental death.
"What I can say is that the autopsy confirmed the impressions of the doctors at Children's Hospital that this baby died of inflicted injuries of the head," she said.
Turner said she found skull fractures and bleeding around the brain and in the retinas.
"Those types of injuries, retinal injuries, are seen in cases of children who are shaken violently, but also are seen in children with massive crushing injuries of the head," she said.
Turner said she has not finalized her investigation.
The baby was born July 6 at Saint Francis Medical Center, one of two twin boys. On Aug. 22, the infant's mother returned home from work and checked on her child in his crib and saw he was pale and had a bruise over his left eye.
The infant was then taken to an area hospital and later transferred to Children's Hospital, where he was treated for injuries but ultimately died.
In an interview with police, Walker said a playpen fell on the child but also admitted he didn't believe that would cause such serious injuries. In an affidavit from the responding police officer, police say a treating physician noted that a mark in the bruise above the infant's eye was consistent with a wedding band. Police noted that Walker was wearing a wedding band on his left hand while still at the residence.
Walker also allegedly told police that from the time the mother left for work he was the only guardian present with the children.
The child's mother could not be reached for comment.
Walker is listed as a prior offender, stemming from his guilty plea in a 2008 case of second-degree domestic assault.