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Acquittal in Death of Child

June 25, 1982
By Gerald McKelvey

Jamaica — An Arverne man was acquitted yesterday of all homicide charges in the death of his 2-year-old son who, police said, had died of beatings, scalding and starvation.

After two days of deliberation, a jury in State Supreme Court convicted [Defendant], 30, of Edgemere Houses, of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. The jury acquitted him of second-degree man-slaughter and two lesser felony charges, reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide.

Justice Ann B. Dufficy set sentencing for July 16. [Defendant] could receive up to a year in jail.

[Defendant’s] attorney, Todd Greenberg, said the jury apparently was swayed by testimony by [Defendant’s] wife, Mary, that [Defendant] was not aware of what she was doing to their son Anthony.

The child was dead on arrival May 22, 1981, at Peninsula General Hospital, where medics had taken him after the [Defendant] called an ambulance and said he had stopped breathing. An autopsy showed that the child suffered from malnutrition and had been beaten and scalded.

One of the police officers who investigated the case said at the time: “They said he weighed 13 pounds. If he did, the bones weighed 12 pounds.”

The [Defendant’s] were arrested July 1. Jury selection is under way for [Defendant’s] trial before Dufficy. She faces the same charges her husband did. The [Defendant’s] were not tried together because she insisted that she wanted to testify in her husband’s behalf, according to a source familiar with the case. [Defendant] is suffering from “a lot of psychiatric problems,” the source said, and this is expected to figure in her defense.

The [Defendant’s] four other children are in foster care. After the [Defendant’s] were arrested, it was learned from several sources that shortly after Anthony’s birth on January 11, 1979, he was left on a neighbor’s doorstep and turned over to the city’s Bureau of Special Services for Children. The agency learned the [Defendant’s] were the parents and charged them in Family Court with neglecting the infant. After the [Defendant’s] agreed to enter therapy and be under the agency’s supervision, Anthony was returned to them. According to one source familiar with the case, the supervisory visits continued until March, 1980.