Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dad on trial for felony murder in beating death of 2-year-old son; father only "involved" due to paternity test (Lynchburg, Virginia)

Dad is identified as OLIVER SEIGEFRED FELIX.

Why it is a bad idea to "involve" a father who otherwise couldn't be bothered except for a paternity test. These guys are inevitably not bonded to the mother or the child. And they certainly resent child support....All these factors put the baby at severe risk.

Trial underway for man accused in the death of 2-year-old child

Posted: Wednesday, February 4, 2015 3:38 pm
Justin Faulconer

Happy, playful 2-year-old Simeon Tyler left his mother’s care to walk over to his father on April 18, 2013 to be picked up as his mother went to work, prosecutors told a jury in Lynchburg Circuit Court on Wednesday.

But hours later, Oliver Seigefred Felix suddenly returned the injured child to his mother Sharhonda Tyler in a barely conscious state and suffering from seizures, Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Janell Johnson said in her opening remarks the first day of a trial against Felix, accused of felony murder in the toddler’s death.

Leigh Drewry, Felix’s attorney, told jurors the commonwealth’s version of events was not as simple as Johnson laid out and the injuries took place over time and not solely at his client’s hands.

“This was not all caused on one day in the course of a few hours and it was not all Mr. Felix’s fault,” Drewry said.

Felix, 40, of Lynchburg, also is charged with child abuse and child endangerment. Simeon Tyler was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital with significant injuries on April 18, 2013 and was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center for emergency care. He died nine days later.

Johnson said in court Wednesday Felix became involved in Simeon’s life only after a paternity test. He agreed to watch his son a couple days per week while Sharhonda Tyler worked. On April 18, 2013, Johnson said Felix called Sharhonda Tyler and said: “your son’s not breathing.”

Felix did not immediately call 911 or rush Simeon to a hospital and instead went in the opposite direction to meet Simeon’s mother at her job on Timberlake Road. Scans showed Simeon suffered an injury to his brain, which caused bleeding and swelling.

Emergency surgery was performed, Johnson said. X-rays of the boy’s chest showed he had several rib fractures and doctors said a “type of force” was necessary to cause those injuries along with hemorrhaging behind his eyes, Johnson said.

The damage would have left Simeon unable to walk, eat or play and doctors believe they were not caused by a simple fall or a bump on the head, Johnson said. The trauma came from shaking the boy’s body so hard his brain to shake violently inside the skull, she said.

Drewry said the injuries were “complicated.” Simeon suffered an earlier stroke and “injuries took place after a matter of days,” he said.

The jury of eight men and six women would have to consider who had the child, when they had him and other participants, Drewry said, stopping short of identifying names.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison played a 911 call a co-worker and friend of Sharhonda Tyler’s testified she made when Felix dropped Simeon off. Earlier that morning the friend said Simeon was “being his normal self” but suddenly he was unresponsive in his mother’s arms, eyes rolled back in his head and showing no movement at all.

Todd Davis of the Lynchburg Fire Department testified he responded to the scene at about 5:30 p.m. and started patient care as Simeon was displaying “seizure-like activity.” The boy was unconscious and breathing poorly, Davis testified.

An emergency room nurse at Lynchburg General Hospital said Simeon was unresponsive and transferred by helicopter to UVa. The nurse testified Felix told her he came out of the bedroom and saw his son was slumped over and put him to bed.

The nurse said Felix told her he tried to wake up Simeon but he wasn’t successful and the child’s jaw was clenched. He called the mother to say Simeon wasn’t acting right, the nurse testified.

John Jane Jr., a pediatric neurosurgeon at UVa, performed brain surgery on Simeon on April 18. Jane testified Simeon was suffering from increased brain pressure and surgery was designed to alleviate it.

The boy’s chances of making a good recovery were low, Jane said, so he made what he believed was the heroic measure to pursue surgery, which he said he felt was the best that could be done to give the child a chance. He survived nine days until he was declared brain dead. Jane said he believes the surgery was the reason Simeon’s life was prolonged.

Simeon’s head and neck had sustained a forceful trauma, Jane said. Harrison asked if a simple fall could have caused such injuries and Jane responded the injuries were not consistent with a fall from a standing position or from a distance such as a bed.

A large portion of the left side of his brain was swollen, which would leave the right side of his body weak, Jane said.

“He would not be speaking, walking, talking,” he said.

Felix, in a black suit and a purple tie, was silent and attentive during the proceedings Wednesday. Though the events took place in 2013, he wasn’t arrested until March after a grand jury indictment.

The jury selection Wednesday was impacted by a delay after the courthouse was evacuated because of a bomb threat. Judge F. Patrick Yeatts said it was not how the opening day of the jury trial was scripted but told jurors the threat had nothing to do with the Felix case.

Prosecutors will resume calling witnesses at 9 a.m. today.