Friday, July 20, 2012

In Florida, Man will plead to manslaughter in death of 6-month-old girl | Shaken Baby Syndrome

An Orange County man will soon plead to an aggravated manslaughter charge in the death of a 6-month-old girl, but family, friends and the victim's mother testified Wednesday that they don't believe he did anything wrong.
Lonnie Leonard Jr., 23, was charged last year in the Nov. 20, 2010, death of Malloree Tatum.
Leonard told investigators the baby fell off a bed, according to testimony. But doctors and a medical examiner say it's impossible the trauma the child suffered was caused by a fall from that height.

One doctor noted severe retinal bleeding consistent with shaken-baby syndrome — "one of the worst cases" he'd seen, an affidavit said.

The girl's mother, Tameka Tatum, said at a plea conference Wednesday she still loves Leonard.
"I actually cannot believe he did anything wrong," she said. Tatum asked the judge to sentence Leonard to probation — not prison — for the first-degree felony manslaughter charge.
Prosecutor Pam Davis asked Tatum how she believed her daughter was fatally injured.
"I honestly believe she fell off of the bed," Tatum said. Asked Davis, "and hit what?"
"I don't know," Tatum replied.
After Tatum, several other loved ones testified that Leonard would never have harmed Malloree.
"I don't feel he did this at all," testified step-mother Amy Walker-Leonard. Lonnie Leonard Sr. said his son "loved [Malloree] to death... he wouldn't hurt her."
However, Orange County homicide Det. Chris Dillon testified the baby's injuries didn't fit the younger Leonard's version of events. A 25-inch fall onto carpet, he said, could not have caused her trauma.
Leonard Jr. will plead to aggravated manslaughter of a child at a hearing on Sept. 14, according to testimony.

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If you have any questions or concerns about what can be done to help babies who have been shaken, or families of babies who have died, please call Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm toll-free for free consultation at (888) 592-5437 (KIDS), click on contact us here, or use the web form provided at

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