Dad EDDIE HAMILTON apparently bashed the baby to death during a diaper change for "whining."
"Whining"? A 3-month-old baby???
Fresno father gets 15 years to life in infant's death
Eddie Hamilton pleaded no-contest to second-degree murder charge.
By Marc Benjamin - The Fresno Bee
Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 | 09:51 PM
A Fresno man will serve 15 years to life in prison after he was sentenced Monday in Fresno County Superior Court for killing his 3-month-old son by "blunt force trauma."
Eddie Hamilton, 27, was tried last year in the 2008 death of his son, Elijah Jeremiah Hamilton. A jury then hung with 11 of 12 jurors favoring conviction. Days before his second trial was to begin in August, Hamilton pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in his son's death.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Donald Penner read a list of about 10 internal and external injuries to the infant. The coroner's autopsy found that Elijah had internal bleeding and five rib injuries that were weeks old and healing. There also were cuts or tears to the infant's liver, pancreas and small intestine.
Elijah had suffered from what Penner called "child abuse syndrome." There was evidence of abuse to Elijah in all three months of his life, Penner said.
Hamilton admitted to a playful poke to the abdomen, according to reports read by the judge. He later admitted to police that he had slugged his son during a diaper change because the infant was whining.
"One can hardly imagine a more horrific murder," Penner said.
And members of the mother's family echoed Penner.
"It's disgusting to think anyone could do something like that," said Tareva Caldera, Elijah's aunt. "Playfully hitting an infant doesn't make any sense, it's totally wrong. Elijah was so innocent. A love so innocent and pure was snatched away from us."
Lashonda Caldera, Elijah's mother, said in court that Hamilton was jealous of Elijah, calling him a "crybaby."
"Elijah was my love, my life, my everything," she said. "Eddie has destroyed my life."
But Pamela Hamilton said she didn't think her son acted alone.
"They are trying to make my son out to be a monster, but two people lived in that house, not one," she said. "It's not fair; she (Lashonda) should be sitting over there, too, not just my son."
Following the hearing, James Lambe, Eddie Hamilton's lawyer, said Lashonda Caldera did not testify during last year's trial, citing her Fifth Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination.
Sharon Wimberley, a juror from the trial, returned to the courtroom to witness Monday's sentencing.
She said 10 of the 11 jurors who voted to convict Eddie Hamilton remain in touch with one another. They were "devastated" after the first trial, she said.
"It's been so important to us that if we couldn't bring about justice that it could be brought about," Wimberley said. "Today is a good day."