Edgar Springs man found guilty of child abuse and murder

3 years 2 weeks 13 hours ago Friday, November 06 2015 Nov 6, 2015 Friday, November 06, 2015 2:34:00 PM CST November 06, 2015 in News
By: Jeffrey Militzer, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

PULASKI COUNTY - A Pulaski County jury found an Edgar Springs man guilty of child abuse and second-degree murder. A jury decided Brent Black, 27, was abusing his 11-month old daughter.

In January 2013, Black told doctors and investigators he discovered the child choking on a baby wipe and attempted to resuscitate her. The baby was quickly life-flighted to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. 

Dr. Adrienne Atzemis, the head of Child Abuse Pediatrics, examined the child and identified several bruises on the child’s head which were indicative of abuse.  Additionally she identified skull fractures and bleeding within the brain.  Two days later, the child was declared brain dead.

The Chief Medical Examiner in St. Louis County conducted an autopsy of the child and found additional evidence of abuse and determined the cause of death to be homicide from craniocerebral trauma. She indicated at trial the victim would have immediately been symptomatic by losing consciousness and losing respiration within minutes.

At trial, Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney Brendon Fox said he couldn’t tell the jury how Black inflicted the fatal injury.

He said, “There were three people in the house.  Brent, the mother, and the victim. We know the mother was asleep, Brent has maintained that from the beginning.  The baby couldn’t do this to herself. So, who’s left? We know that Brent is holding a dead baby at 3:15 A.M. We know the baby would have been immediately symptomatic. Minutes, at most. So, who’s left?”

The jury was not allowed to sentence Black, as he is a prior felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled for January 6, 2016, at 10:30 A.M. He could face up to life plus 15 years in addition to the sentence he is already serving.

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