DA: murder charges expected for infant death

A 5-month-old infant who died Friday had suffered injuries from having been shaken, Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard has confirmed.

Law enforcement is expected to seek murder warrants in connection with the case, Ballard said, though he declined to say whom might face those charges.

One charge of felony child cruelty has already been filed against Steven Anthony Haire, 22, of Franklin, who was babysitting infant Zachery Freeman Feb. 21 when Fayette County EMS responded to a home on West Lane because the child had stopped breathing, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

Haire told sheriff’s deputies that the child stopped breathing after he had laid it down with a bottle to take a nap. But sheriff’s investigators confirmed that the infant’s injuries “were not consistent with the statements given by Haire at the time of the incident,” deputies said in a press release.

Ballard declined to share details of what led up to the infant’s injuries, but said he was aware of other evidence that can’t be released at this point.

Officials are also awaiting the result of the infant’s autopsy, Ballard said. Infant Freeman was taken off life support early Friday evening, deputies said.

“It’s just a terrible tragedy, you just don’t want to hear about a baby getting killed this way,” Ballard said. “... You just can’t shake a baby. Their bodies aren’t able to withstand that kind of shock to their system.”

Emergency crews who responded to the scene performed CPR on the infant, who was first transported to Piedmont Fayette Hospital and later flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta pediatric hospital, where he was placed on life support.

Two other children who were living at the home have been placed in the custody of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, The Citizen has learned.

See earlier story here: http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/02-28-2011/arrest-made-death-n-fayett...