A 20-year-old East Baltimore man faces up to 25 years in prison after being convicted last night of manslaughter and child abuse in the fatal beating of his former girlfriend's 10 1/2 -month-old daughter.
A Baltimore Circuit Court jury deliberated for 45 minutes before finding Tyrone Myrick guilty in the Dec. 3 death of Renee Hicks, whose internal injuries were so severe a doctor likened them to the effects of being struck by a car.
The verdict, which came six days after 20-year-old Giselle Hicks pleaded guilty to manslaughter and child abuse in her daughter's death, touched off an emotional scene in which Myrick's wailing mother momentarily collapsed in the courtroom.
Minutes later, sheriff's deputies had to step between Myrick family members and the dead girl's biological father and paternal grandmother. Edward Heath Jr., the baby's 24-year-old father, said, "I'm happy. He took my daughter's life. They should take his."
Myrick, who was ordered held without bond until he is sentenced Oct. 28 by Judge Clifton J. Gordy, shook his head in disbelief after the verdict was announced.
In closing arguments yesterday, prosecutor Rex Schultz said lTC Hicks and Myrick lied under oath. He noted Myrick's testimony did not account for the baby's injuries. "Both of them did it. . . . Somebody started hitting the child, probably Giselle, and somebody administered a sustained thrashing to the left side," he said. "It's [Myrick's] own lies that convict him, not Giselle's."
Testifying yesterday, Myrick denied hitting the child and said the baby did not appear to be seriously hurt after she was struck twice by her mother.
Hicks, who faces up to 15 years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 12, admitted slapping Renee for nibbling on an electrical cord. But she said Myrick hit the baby with a shoe and shook her against a wall when she wouldn't stop crying.
After the baby stopped breathing, Hicks said, she conspired with Myrick to cover up the beatings. But the details of her story changed several times under questioning.
Hicks is free on her own recognizance to await sentencing. After pleading guilty last week, she retained custody of a 2-month-old son. Her other child, a 2-year-old daughter, was placed in the custody of the Baltimore Department of Social Services in December.
Sources connected to the case said authorities took custody of the 2-month-old Friday night. While refusing to discuss the specifics of the case, Sue Fitzsimmons, an agency spokeswoman, said authorities can seek a court order to gain custody of a child while an investigation is conducted.