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Father charged in son's battery

By Kathy Jefcoats

Henry County police charged a Stockbridge father with felony aggravated battery Thursday night in a "shaken baby" case involving his 2-month-old son.

Adam Michael Whitaker, 22, of 407 Carrington Ridge, was arrested at 8:25 p.m. at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta where his son lies in a coma on life support, said police Lt. Joe Tammaro. Whitaker is also charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, and felony cruelty to children.

If convicted of all charges, Whitaker faces more than 40 years in prison.

It is believed that Whitaker is married to the baby's mother but Tammaro could not confirm that Friday morning. He declined to identify her. Both parents were interviewed during the course of the week-long investigation, he said, but he would not discuss statements Whitaker made to police.

The mother is not expected to be charged at this time.

"The investigation is still ongoing," said Tammaro. "Until such time that we find something that would implicate anyone else, he is the only person charged at this point. We are open-minded, however."

The baby is said to be in serious to critical condition. Should his injuries turn fatal, Whitaker faces a murder charge.

"We anticipate adding a charge of homicide if the child passes away," he said. "We will pursue that."

Tammaro would not comment on whether or not the mother was present when the baby was injured. He said he doesn't think there are other children in the household.

Whitaker was in court Friday morning for a first appearance hearing held at the Henry County Jail. Family members attended the hearing but did not publicly speak.

Contacted at Whitaker's father's home, a relative said the family had no comment. It was not immediately known Friday if Whitaker had hired an attorney. According to his booking sheet, Whitaker is employed as an assistant meat cutter in a local grocery store.

Jail officials said Whitaker was released Friday at 1:11 p.m. on a $15,000 Butts County property bond. A check of Henry County court records show that Whitaker's local criminal history consists only of a speeding ticket paid in State Court in April 2002. Records show he lived in Jackson then.

The investigation began when Henry County police went to Children's Healthcare Sunday afternoon in response to a call about a baby with possible physical abuse.

The Henry County Department of Family and Children's Services and Flint District Attorney Tommy Floyd are assisting police officers in their investigation.