Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dad with child access to 5-week-old baby gets life for infant's death (Winfield, West Virginia)

The parents are "estranged," but it is not clarified here whether dad had court-ordered custody/visitation. It may be a case where there was cultural pressure on the mother to "allow" a father of a newborn to have custody/visitation. In the end, it doesn't really matter.

Abusers are the most likely to insist on custody/visitation with newborns, and mothers who are afraid of further abuse are often afraid to fight, as they figure (rightly) that the abuser will escalate his demands if she does.

Very rarely do pregnant mothers or mothers of newborns leave relationships unless there is abuse. That is the first hint that this was a bad situation.

At any rate, the concept of father custody/visitation/access with newborns is ridiculous. Five-week-old babies need their mother. Period. They don't need or want contact with a father, especially one who is clearly volatile and irresponsible. They need stable, loving care. They don't need to hauled around in Daddy's car for days on end.

Dad is identified as ROBERT JEREMY SMITH.

See the Killer Dads and Custody list for West Virginia. And our past posts here.

Father Receives Life With No Mercy Sentence In Death Of Infant Son

Updated: Fri, Aug 14 2015, 06:51 PM | Leslie Rubin, Jeffrey A. Morris

WINFIELD, W.Va. – A father received a life sentence with no mercy Friday at an emotional hearing in Putnam County Circuit Court during which he accepted responsibility for his infant son’s death.

"I not only failed my son in the most severe way imaginable, but I failed my family.

My son lost his life that day because of me. My mother lost her son that day because of me.

The most innocent of lives was taken that day and it was due to me as his father," Robert Jeremy Smith said through tears.

Judge Joseph Reeder sentenced Smith, 34, to life with no mercy for the murder of a child by failure to provide care of his infant son.

Smith’s 5-week-old son Madden was found dead in car seat in Kanawha City in May 2015.

He previously pleaded guilty to murder of a child by refusal or failure to provide necessities.

His estranged wife frantically called 911 after Smith showed up at her home with the dead child in a car seat, claiming he had dropped the infant the day before.

Few details surrounding what exactly caused Madden's death were put on the record during a previous hearing, but Smith did admit to not getting the baby help when he stopped breathing.

"My son stopped breathing and he needed emergency medical care and I failed to provide it for him," Smith said when he broke down in court during his guilty plea.

Prosecutors said after the guilty plea hearing, however, that if the case went to trial they were prepared to prove the baby had been abused and believe whatever caused his injuries was more than an accident.

"There were numerous positions of bleeding on the brain and in the baby's head that was consistent with abuse," Putnam County Assistant Prosecutor Kris Raynes said about the case.

In court on Friday, Smith said he would be willing to pay the ultimate price to make amends for the death of his son.

"I would gladly give my life so my son could have his life back," Smith said.