Friday, June 12, 2015

Dad charged with 2nd-degree murder for beating death of 7-day-old son (Tacoma, Washington)

Dad is identified as JOSHUA SULLIVAN JR.

Prosecutors charge father in death of Tacoma toddler

By Stacia Glenn Staff writer June 8, 2015

A father imprisoned for beating his son was charged with second-degree murder Friday because the boy died more than a year after he was injured.

Joshua Sullivan Jr. was seven days old in 2013 when he was brought to the hospital with severe head trauma and internal bleeding.

Employees at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital called Tacoma police May 23, 2013, to report possible child abuse.

Doctors were concerned about bruising on the newborn’s mouth, cheekbone, back and left inner ear. He also was bleeding from his lip and umbilical cord, records show.

His parents denied knowing what happened to the boy. Officers noted the father, Joshua Sullivan, showed no emotion. Sullivan “eventually admitted that he did get frustrated with the baby,” according to court documents.

Child Protective Services took Joshua and the mother’s two other children and placed them with foster families.

In February 2014, Sullivan pleaded guilty to first-degree child assault and was sentenced to 16 years and six months in prison.

Seven months later, Joshua died. A medical examiner ruled the toddler’s death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head months earlier.

“The injuries were determined to be the result of apparent shaking,” according to charging papers.

Pneumonia also contributed to his death.

Pierce County prosecutors have charged Sullivan, now 20, with second-degree murder in the case and requested he be transferred from a corrections center to face the new charge.

An arraignment date has not been set.