Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dad charged with murder in death of 3-month-old son (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

He was trying to swat the dog and "accidentally" punched the baby to death? Are you kidding me?

Dad is identified as SAMUEL N. CABRERA.

Father held for trial in infant's death
Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 1:08 AM POSTED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 1:54 PM

A West Philadelphia man who told police he accidentally punched his infant son while twice swatting the family dog away was held for trial on murder charges Tuesday by a Philadelphia judge.

Samuel N. Cabrera, 27, will stand trial in the April 9 death of his 3-month-old, Samuel Jr.

Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon rejected defense attorney Francis Carmen's argument that Cabrera should not face trial for first-degree murder with its mandatory life sentence if convicted.

"This is parenting gone horribly wrong," Carmen told DeLeon. "How does this ever rise to a fully formed decision that 'I'm going to kill my own child?' "

DeLeon cited testimony by Philadelphia Assistant Medical Examiner Aaron Rosen that the infant had two partly healed bone fractures that could signify a history of abuse. 

Rosen, questioned by Assistant District Attorney Lorraine Donnelly, said Samuel Jr. bled to death internally after his liver was cut. Rosen said the baby had nine broken ribs.

"There would have had to be a significant amount of force to fracture ribs and lacerate the liver to that extent," Rosen said. "There's no appropriate handling of a baby that could ever cause injuries like this."

Emergency personnel were called to Cabrera's house in the 600 block of North 63d Street about 3:50 p.m. April 9 after the baby's mother, Jennifer Wycoff, 28, found him cold and not breathing.

The couple lived with their 16-month-old daughter and Wycoff's three school-age daughters.

Cabrera gave two statements to police. The first was to Detective Gregory Meissler of the Special Victims Unit at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as doctors tried to save the infant's life.

Meissler testified that Cabrera said he and the child's great-grandmother took him for an 11 a.m. doctor visit that day while Wycoff and several children were shopping.

When they got home about noon, Cabrera said, he put his son to sleep upstairs and checked on the infant several times.

Meissler said Cabrera told him Wycoff got home about 3:20 p.m. and found that the baby was not breathing.

The next day, after Samuel Jr. died, Cabrera was interviewed by Homicide Detective William Sierra.

Sierra testified that Cabrera first said he had accidentally hurt his son when he tripped twice carrying him upstairs to bed. Sierra said that he was skeptical and that Cabrera then said the family dog had run upstairs and jumped on the bed with his son.

"I wanted to take a swing at the dog, but he jumped out of the way, and I hit my son," Sierra said Cabrera told him.

Cabrera said he noticed that the baby was having trouble breathing and performed CPR. After a bottle, he said, the infant fell asleep.

"I didn't tell anybody I hit the child," Sierra quoted Cabrera as saying. "I was scared and didn't know what to do."