Man charged with murder in son's death Father told police boy choked on hot dog

October 09, 1998|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

Troy Harris told authorities in August that he did his best to save his 4-year-old son, who had choked on a hot dog smeared with hot sauce.

But the boy's body told a different story, Baltimore police say. Evidence gathered as part of an autopsy on Davon Harris led police to arrest his 29-year-old father yesterday and charge him with first-degree murder.

Agent Ragina L. Cooper, a police spokeswoman, said the state medical examiner reported last week that the boy died of "blunt force trauma to the chest area," leading police to obtain an arrest warrant on Wednesday.

In addition, police charged Harris with child abuse and first- and second-degree assault in an incident involving another son, Deshawn Harris, 3, Cooper said. Deshawn suffered a broken arm on Aug. 7 -- a day after his brother died -- and is now in the custody of child protective services, she said.

Harris told police at the time that he and Davon had been play-wrestling Aug. 6 in their home in the 1300 block of Argyle Ave. After they stopped, Davon asked for a hot dog, which Harris said he gave him. As they sat on a living room couch, the father said, the boy stopped breathing.

When police arrived about 7: 30 p.m., they found Harris performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the boy. Davon was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8: 06 p.m.

But Cooper said yesterday that the medical examiner concluded after toxicology tests that the child died of chest injuries. "The father's original statement was inconsistent with the finding of the medical examiner," Cooper said.

Claudia Harris, Davon's 48-year-old grandmother, said shortly after the boy's death that emergency room doctors told her that Davon, who had asthma, may have suffered an allergic reaction to the hot sauce on the hot dog.

Pub Date: 10/09/98

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