A Germantown man will face trial for allegedly stabbing his 7-month-old son in the head during an April altercation with the child’s mother.
At a Thursday preliminary hearing, Municipal Court Judge James Murray Lynn ordered Samuel Jones, 20, held on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and, among other offenses, reckless endangerment.
According to medical professionals at the hearing, the victim still suffers partial paralysis and other possibly long-term effects.
Police reports and court testimony indicated that Jones was engaged in a verbal and physical altercation with his son’s mother on the 6200 block of Chew Ave. in East Germantown around 2:30 p.m. April 13.
During the course of the altercation, the child was stabbed in the head.
In statements he gave to police, Jones described the stabbing as an accident.
The infant was initially transported to Albert Einstein Medical Center by his parents and a neighbor.
He was then taken by medics to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where he remains listed in critical condition.
On the day of the stabbing, Jones told Special Victims Unit detectives that the baby’s mother, Shyneice James, lunged at him from the bed where she was sitting.
Jones said he did not realize that his son was standing behind her in the bed or that he was holding the open folding knife as she lunged.
The four-inch folding knife, which James kept for personal protection, had been placed on a television inside night before, said Jones, who claimed he picked it up, placed it in his pocket and that, by the time of the argument, it was open and in his hand.
As Jones went to wrap his arms around his girlfriend, he said he accidentally stabbed his son in the left side of his head.
“I didn’t immediately realize that I had the knife in my hand until I picked up my son and he was bleeding from the back of the head,” Jones reportedly told detectives. “I forgot I had it in my hand.”
Jones said he then applied pressure to the back of the infant’s head, performed CPR and asked a neighbor to drive him to the hospital.
Details from the scene
When responding officers arrived, Jones, James and the baby were gone. Police noticed a broken crib, strewn clothing and a jug of water that appeared to have blood on it in the second-floor bedroom.
Police also saw a four-inch folding knife nearby, containing dried blood and hair.
Subsequently, Jones made two statements to police. When asked about omissions in the first statement, Jones said that family integrity motivated his deception.
“I just didn’t want us to all to be messed up,” he reportedly told detectives. “I didn’t want to lose my kids or make my girl lose the kids.”
Whatever the circumstances of the stabbing, the medical effects are serious.
Dr. Maria McColgan, medical director of the Child Protection Program at St. Christopher’s, said that the blade entered the child’s brain through the rear left side of the skull, which was fractured at the point of impact.
These injuries required doctors to perform surgery to place a shunt in his brain to drain fluid, and necessitated an extended hospital stay where he was intubated and placed in intensive care.
While doctors are unsure the extent of the brain injuries, the change in the baby’s gaze suggests potential long-term effects on vision, motor skills and cognition.
“He’s got a long way to go,” said McColgan.
Assistant District Attorney Jack O’Neill maintained that malice was present in this crime while Jones’ attorney David Bahuriak argued that the standard for attempted murder had not been met.
With Lynn’s ruling that the state had met its preliminary-hearing burden, Jones was returned to custody awaiting his formal arraignment on June 13.
His bail, originally set for $500,000, was raised to $1 million on Thursday after a prosecution request.
Bahuriak told NewsWorks that he disagreed with the court’s decision.
“We expect to hear all of the facts at the trial, and expect to be exonerated,” he said. “What we heard today was only half of the story.”
O’Neill remarked afterwards that the case was “devastating.”
“We know from looking at it that there was malice involved,” he said. “It was a 7-month-old baby with his whole life ahead of him, and they permanently and severely changed his life. We don’t know what the reason was, but there is no good reason for that.”