0

Father charged with infant son's death

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A 26-year-old man has been arrested on charges he jerked, bit and squeezed his 4-month-old son, killing the boy.

Jeremy Antonio Stokes, an unemployed resident of Williamsburg South Apartments on Flint River Road, is being charged with malice murder and cruelty to children.

According to warrants for Stokes' arrest, the infant, who is not being named by police, died of asphyxiation on March 2. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy found the baby boy had multiple broken ribs, a swollen brain, a broken right elbow, bruising to the neck and jaw and a bite mark on his back.

Stokes was the only one home at the apartment at the time of the boy's death. He reportedly told Clayton County Police he was asleep on the couch, late that morning, after staying out until after 4 a.m., the night before, at a local club. He woke up, on the couch, and the infant had fallen from the couch to the floor and was "gasping for air."

Stokes called 911, according to reports, and met paramedics outside the apartment building, with the limp baby in his arms.

The baby was taken to Southern Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead at about 2:20 p.m.

The child's mother, 20-year-old Tamara L. Riley, was at work at the time. According to police reports, she left the apartment at about 10:30 a.m., after feeding and bathing her baby.

When interviewed by police, Riley said she was angry at her boyfriend that morning, because he'd been out so late the night before. She said Stokes "had a habit of squeezing the infant until he begins to cry," and is "jealous," but she didn't explain what "jealous" means, police said.

After leaving the apartment, Riley called Stokes several times, but he didn't answer his cell phone, according to police. At 1:14 p.m., from the hospital, Stokes called the 20-year-old mother and said, "there is something wrong with the baby."

The father was arrested after the GBI returned initial autopsy results, finding the 4-month-old's death was a homicide, that the baby stopped breathing when someone broke his ribs.

The arrest warrants filed Tuesday afternoon, allege that Stokes "maliciously caused" his son's death by "cruel or excessive physical or mental pain by squeezing, jerking and biting [the 4-month-old] with his arms and/hands and fingers causing multiple rib fractures."

Stokes' next court date has not been set.