Man gets 32 years for murder of girlfriend's baby

December 04, 1993|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Staff Writer

Dorian J. Wise Jr., 20, was sentenced yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to 32 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend's 7-month-old daughter by slamming her against a wall, but the child-abuse investigation continues.

The autopsy on Myesha Shakia Hawkins, a premature baby who weighed only 10 1/2 pounds, revealed severe earlier injuries that could not be linked to Wise.

"This case does not end today. Somebody is responsible," said Assistant State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, who prosecuted Wise. "It's the most outrageous thing I've ever seen."

Myesha died May 26 from two skull fractures -- one on each side of her head -- and brain damage, according to the autopsy by Dr. Dennis J. Chute, assistant medical examiner. The fracture on the left side was 5 inches long, nearly the full length of her skull. She also had a freshly fractured rib.

The postmortem also revealed several fractures in various stages of healing of both legs, both arms, two ribs and a vertebra, as well as a hemorrhage of the covering of the right front of the brain "at least several weeks old."

Sources said authorities canvassed every hospital in Baltimore but found no record that Myesha had ever been treated for any of her injuries.

Mr. Shellenberger, who is leaving the state's attorney's office for private practice, said other prosecutors will follow the case.

"There are a number of things we can look at," said Detective Douglas Dodrill, the lead investigator. He would not speculate, however, where the investigation might lead.

Judge Christian M. Kahl, who called Myesha "a thoroughly beaten and battered child," withheld information about the older fractures from the trial jury because investigators could not find evidence that Wise was responsible.

Wise lived with L'tosha Wilson, the baby's mother, at her house on Solar Circle in Hillendale for two months before the death of the child.

Judge Kahl sentenced him to 25 years for second-degree murder plus seven years for child abuse and ordered that Wise serve at least 12 years before being considered for parole.

Before the case went to the jury Thursday, Mr. Shellenberger dropped the charge of first-degree murder.

Yesterday, Howard B. Merker, deputy state's attorney, and Sandy Williams, an assistant prosecutor, said that the General Assembly should make fatal child-abuse an underlying crime for felony murder, a proposal they said the legislature has rejected twice. The prosecutors said that the Wise case is an example of the need for such legislation.

Although Wise's real first name is Demetrius, he was tried as Dorian, the name he gave police. Jennifer Aist, Wise's public defender, said her client gave a false name because he was on probation for a handgun violation and feared police would hold that against him during the investigation of Myesha's death.

Ms. Aist told the judge that in two interviews, Ms. Wilson "never seemed the slightest bit upset or emotional that her child was dead. If anything, the implication is that L'tosha Wilson was implicated."

Ms. Wilson was in court for the trial but left Thursday when the opposing lawyers began final arguments.

Wise did not testify during the two-day trial. Yesterday, he mumbled an apology when Judge Kahl asked if he had anything to say.

During the investigation, Wise gave police five different oral and written statements and changed his version of events for each one as he tried to convince detectives that Myesha died from an accidental fall.

Once the autopsy convinced investigators Wise was lying, they questioned him again June 9. He then admitted slamming the baby against a wall.

However, he claimed he thought Myesha was already dead and that he threw her out of frustration and panic at not being able to revive her after she accidentally fell as he carried her upstairs. He said he slipped on baby lotion but later admitted squirting the lotion on the stairs.

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