A Nescopeck man will face aggravated assault and child endangerment charges in connection to the death of his 11-week-old son. Prosecutors stopped short of charging Jeffrey Blake Hutcheson, 22, of second-degree murder or even negligent homicide after his child died at Berwick hospital in September. However, they have not left out the possibility of charging Hutcheson with the child’s death.
Hutcheson and his girlfriend, Alanna Supon, drove the baby to the hospital after he was unresponsive. When police interviewed Hutcheson, he told them that he placed the child on the couch while he went upstairs to take a nap. The baby began crying in the middle of the night and Hutcheson went downstairs to see what was wrong. Hutcheson said the baby fell back asleep but then never woke up. It was then that they rushed him to the hospital for evaluation.
Everything Depends on the Autopsy
Police say that the baby had broken ribs and an injury to his mouth and head. If it’s determined that the child died due to something that Hutcheson did, such as shaking the baby, he will be charged with second-degree murder and can even be charged with felony murder.
Aggravated assault is considered a felony in Florida so even if the father’s intent was just to keep the baby from crying, he can be charged with felony murder which comes with a possible sentence of life imprisonment.
The prosecution will base their case on the evidence gleaned from the autopsy. If the child’s ribs were broken, they will speculate that it was his father who attempted to squeeze in an effort to stop the baby from crying. That will be a believable theory of what happened. But there may also be other explanations for why the child died that don’t involve the malice or negligence of the father.
Possible Defenses for Hutcheson
There’s still a lot for the prosecution to prove, but it seems likely that one or both parents did not care for their child properly. The entire idea of leaving the child on the couch while you go to sleep will likely be repellent to most jurors. This will make it easier for them to believe that the child’s father was fed up with the sound of the baby crying and attempted to do something to stop it. Nonetheless, the prosecution must prove that their theory of what happened is true beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defense can also theorize in instances like this. If the child had brittle bone disease or there is any other explanation for the broken ribs and facial injuries, the defense will attempt to prove that. But they are still in the awkward position of debunking a very reasonable theory on how the child died.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re charged with a serious crime in the West Palm Beach area, talk to the criminal defense West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. We can help defend you from the charges and ensure that you are not charged on flimsy evidence or speculation.