Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dad found guilty of killing 2-month-old daughter; baby killed less than an hour after mom returned to work (Waterloo, Iowa)

It was the first time Daddy had been left alone with the baby after Mom returned to work. (Earlier accounts say the grandmother helped him on the first day.) In 45 minutes, the scumbag managed to kill the baby.

Dad is identified as TREVOR EUGENE SMITH.

Guilty verdict in infant death

41 minutes ago • By Jeff Reinitz

WATERLOO | Prosecutors said it took less than an hour for a new father to lose his cool when he was first left alone with his child in 2012.

And it took jurors less than an hour Thursday to find Trevor Eugene Smith guilty of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death in the death of 7-week-old Aubriana Christian.

Smith, 28, kept his head bowed and his eyes closed as the seven-woman, five-man jury announced its verdict in Black Hawk County District Court. First-degree murder is punishable by a mandatory life sentence in prison, and child endangerment causing death carries up to 50 years in prison.

Sentencing will be at a later date.

Smith was charged under the felony murder theory that he caused Aubriana’s death while committing the offense of child endangerment. The child endangerment charge alleged he knew he created a risk or used unreasonable force that resulted in Aubriana’s death.

Jurors also had the option of choosing the lesser offenses of second-degree murder, willful injury, involuntary manslaughter or assault charges.

Authorities allege Smith shook Aubriana in the Waterloo apartment where they lived on the second day the baby’s mother returned to work after maternity leave.

“Everything is fine for 45 minutes. The defendant only lasted 45 minutes before the abuse started,” said Assistant County Attorney Linda Fangman. “What does this say about his feelings toward that child that he can’t last 45 minutes?”

Smith told police investigators he twice shook the infant because she wouldn’t stop crying. He also told police he dropped her onto a bed and let her fall back on a changing table, causing her head to strike the pad. Doctors later found her brain and eyes were bleeding --- signs of constant, violent shaking --- and she had two bruises on her head.

“We know there is more than what he admitted to. We know it was more severe than what he admitted to,” Fangman told jurors during closing arguments Thursday.

She said Aubriana’s oxygen levels showed Smith took his time in calling 911, perhaps waiting 30 to 40 minutes before phoning after the girl quit breathing.

Public Defender Tomas Rodriguez said the prosecution was trying to paint Smith as a monster.

He quoted a child abuse expert the state called to the stand and testified “the majority of abusive head trauma doesn’t occur with the intention of hurting the child or killing the child.”

Rodriguez said the internal bleeding came from brain swelling sparked by prolonged cardiac arrest, which was the testimony of a forensic pathologist called by the defense.

“Do doctors disagree? That’s why we have second opinions,” he said.

He suggested bruises may have come from the infant’s head striking doorways when a police officer rushed her out of the apartment to an ambulance.

Rodriguez said Smith merely rocked and bounced the baby because he thought it would help her stop crying. He said it wasn’t a violent shaking and didn’t cause the injuries.