0

Man who shook baby to face murder charges

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A 30-year-old man has been charged with shaking his infant step-daughter to death.

According to court documents, the 16-month-old girl, Jakyila Ricks, suffered head injuries and brain trauma "similar to a high impact car crash."

Tory Anthony Sears, of Stockbridge, was indicted by a Clayton County grand jury on Wednesday on charges of child cruelty, aggravated battery and felony murder.

When Ricks was taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston on Sept. 30, at about 10:30 p.m., Doctors found the girl had bruising on the back of her head and her brain was swollen.

Two days later, she died. Doctors reported the death was caused by "craniocerebral trauma," injuries to the skull and brain, allegedly resulting from shaking.

"The shaking force was non-accidental and non-survivable," doctors told Clayton County Police Detective William Clendenen.

The death was ruled a homicide.

The grand jury found the death "cruel and excessive" and signed off on the prosecutors' allegation that shaking the baby caused the fatal physical damage.

Two witnesses at the hospital -- one from Atlanta and one from Fairburn -- told investigators that Sears, while waiting, confessed to shaking Ricks. The man, according to Clendenen, was the only person watching the 16-month-old girl, and the only person who could have fatally shaken the child.

According to an arrest warrant filed with the court, Sears confessed to shaking the girl, when interviewed by police, but questioned the connection between shaking the child and the child's death. "He said that it wasn't that hard," Clendenen wrote. "He said he had no idea how the victim was injured."

If convicted, Sears could face life in prison. His next court date has not yet been set.