Dad CPL. HASSAN ANTHONY SAEDIFAR is on trial for killing his 3-month-old son. The baby died of serious brain trauma injuries (blunt force trauma) sustained while Dad was alone with him.
Jury deciding fate of Cherry Point Marine accused of killing infant son
August 06, 2009 6:29 PM
The fate of a Cherry Point Marine accused of killing his infant son in 2007 is now in the hands of an Onslow County jury.
Cpl. Hassan Anthony Saeidifar, 25, of Valencia Drive, may have spent his last night at home for the rest of his life as Superior Court Judge Jack W. Jenkins released the deliberating jury in Saeidifar’s trial Thursday at 5:30 p.m. They will continue deliberation at 9:30 a.m. today.
Saeidifar is charged with murder and felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury in the death of his 3-month-old son, Christian.
Prosecutors say Saeidifar hit his son across the right side of his head, causing serious brain trauma and eventual death. The defense maintains that the cause of the child’s death is unknown and no real proof exists that Saeidifar abused his son.
After nine days of testimony from medical experts and other witnesses, the jury began delibera-tions at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Almost immediately, they asked to review all the photographic evi-dence in the case.
As a lightning storm raged outside and the lights flickered in the courtroom, Saeidifar sat quietly with members of his family. He has been free on bail since 2007, but that could change today if the jury finds him in any way responsible for his son’s death.
The jury has four options: find Saeidifar guilty of first-degree murder, which carries an auto-matic life sentence without parole; find him guilty of second-degree murder, which could mean a sentence as long as 20 years; find him guilty of manslaughter, which carries around a five year sentence, depending on the circumstances; or not guilty. The jury could also find itself unable to decide, ending in a mistrial.
Court testimony revealed that emergency workers responded to a call of an unresponsive infant at Saeidifar’s home in late August 2007. The child, named Christian, was transported to Onslow Memorial Hospital and later Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.
Saeidifar, who was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, was home alone with Christian when the injuries occurred, prosecutors said.
The infant was pronounced brain dead two days later and taken off life support. The autopsy showed the child died of blunt force trauma to the head.
During closing arguments Thursday morning, Senior Assistant District Attorney Mike Maultsby reminded the jury that Christian had bruised lips and retinal hemorrhaging.
“Children are not tiny adults,” he told the jury, adding that you cannot treat them as if they were.
Maultsby said the defense’s medical experts testified that Christian may have died of a virus, but the state medical examiner who performed the autopsy said the cause of death was trauma to the right side of the head. “And she’s not getting paid $400 an hour to quibble and quabble with some-one,” Maultsby said. “The only way to believe the defense is to ignore the autopsy.”
Saeidifar’s attorney, Jacksonville lawyer Ed Bailey, said Christian’s bruised lips could have come from CPR attempts and that no evidence existed of prior abuse.
He asked the jury why reported injuries like a healed cracked rib were not photographed by the medical examiner during autopsy, if they existed.
“The burden of proof falls on the state,” Bailey told the jury during his closing statement.