A 17-year-old youth accused of losing his temper and beating a 13-month-old baby to death after the child threw a jar of baby food at him was charged yesterday with first-degree murder, Anne Arundel County police said.
Michael Lewis Crockett of the 700 block of 215th Street in Pasadena was charged as an adult in the death of Christopher Lewis Krauss, who died Wednesday at North Arundel Hospital.
The Crockett youth, who lives with Christopher's 16-year-old mother and her parents, was baby-sitting the child at the time of the child's death. He is not the baby's father, police said.
The state medical examiner's office ruled Thursday that the baby died from injuries sustained during a beating.
Sgt. Thomas Suit, head of the homicide division, said the Crockett youth told police he got angry at Christopher while trying to feed him.
"He just lost control because the child had thrown a baby food jar at him," the sergeant said.
Police said the teen-ager admitted to striking the child once, "at which time the child went lifeless."
Sergeant Suit said the suspect's statements to police were inconsistent with the number of cuts and bruises Christopher had.
Sergeant Suit said Christopher's mother was a student at
Northeast High School in Pasadena, but he declined to release ** the girl's name because of her age. She is distraught over her baby's death, he said.
District Judge Donald M. Lowman ordered the Crockett youth held on $50,000 bail yesterday but said he would consider releasing him if his mother and father could post property of equal value.
Assistant State's Attorney Anne L. Colt told the judge the Crockett youth was suicidal and a danger to the community.
"If he could do this to a 13-month-old child, he could do this to anyone," she said.
But Judge Lowman asked, "You don't believe anyone would hire him as a baby-sitter?"
"This gentleman was entrusted to the care of a child," Ms. Colt argued. "He betrayed that trust by hitting [the baby] until he was dead."
Peter Hermann is a reporter with the Anne Arundel County Sun, a suburban edition of The Baltimore Sun.