Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dad sentenced in beating death of 3-month-old son (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Dad is identified as SAMUEL CABRERA.

Man sentenced in beating death of his 3-month-old son

JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer
Posted: Sunday, January 18, 2015, 3:01 AM

A JUDGE yesterday sentenced a West Philly man to 20 to 40 years in state prison for beating his 3-month-old son to death.

Samuel Cabrera, 29, cried and held his head in his hands while being sentenced. "No, your honor," he whimpered, when asked by Common Pleas Judge Sandy Byrd if he wanted to say anything.

On April 9, 2013, Cabrera's son, Samuel Cabrera Jr., was found by medics covered in old and new bruises inside the family's home on 63rd Street near Haverford Avenue, in West Philadelphia.

Assistant District Attorney Lorraine Donnelly said baby Samuel, a "helpless, defenseless and vulnerable victim," only did what babies naturally do - cry - before his father killed him.

He suffered from 10 rib fractures, a lacerated liver and bruising from head to toe, she said. Cabrera lived with his girlfriend, Jennifer Wycoff, who was the baby's mom. Their 16-month-old daughter and Wycoff's three children from a previous relationship also lived there.

An 8-year-old daughter of Wycoff's testified at the nonjury trial in November that on April 9, 2013, after Wycoff brought her home from school, Cabrera locked himself in a room with Samuel Jr. and she then heard "gurgling noises."

After being taken to a hospital, the baby was pronounced dead shortly after midnight April 10. He died of blunt-impact injuries.

Donnelly said Cabrera gave authorities different stories. He claimed that the family dog jumped on the bed and he tried to punch the dog, but missed and punched the baby instead. He also claimed that an intruder came into the house and inflicted the injuries on the baby.

Wycoff, 29, sat alone in the third row of the courtroom gallery yesterday. Byrd asked Donnelly why Wycoff wasn't arrested as well. The prosecutor said that was a decision for higher-ups in her office to make.

Defense lawyer Susan Ricci, although not excusing what her client did, suggested that Cabrera had snapped when faced with an irritable and inconsolable child who was born addicted to methadone.

Donnelly said that Samuel Jr., when in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Lankenau Medical Center after his birth, was not inconsolable. She said the hospital had tried to prevent the baby from being discharged to his parents, who did not visit him in the unit.