Man sentenced to 30 years for shaking infant son to death

9-week-old boy suffered brain injuries

May 11, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County judge sentenced a 35-year-old security guard to 30 years in prison for murder yesterday in the "shaken baby" death of his son in August.

Assistant State's Attorney Susan Hazlett told Baltimore County Circuit Judge John G. Turnbull II that 9-week-old Collin Jones died of brain injuries so massive that his eyes were destroyed at the time of his death at Sinai Hospital on Aug. 31, six days after he was injured.

Turnbull convicted the baby's father, Clarence Jones, a security guard at the Owings Mills mall, on March 4 of second-degree murder and child abuse.

The judge sentenced Jones to 30 years for the murder, plus a concurrent sentence of 15 years for child abuse, saying Jones "has to pay for the death" of his son.

Evidence at the trial showed Jones was alone with the baby at his Woodlawn home at the time the infant was injured.

The prosecutor had said the injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Jones denied to police that he shook the baby and told the judge yesterday, "I loved my son so much I would never, ever [put] my hands on my baby."

Before the judge announced the sentence, Jones' lawyer, Donald Daneman, brought several co-workers, friends and relatives to speak on his client's behalf, including the baby's grandmother, who described him as a kind and gentle man.

Jones wept and moaned when his 14-year-old daughter told the judge her father "never hurt me."

While Jones' friends and relatives described him as a nonviolent man who loved his infant son, Hazlett noted that he had previously been physically abusive to two former girlfriends, one of whom had her ribs broken.

"Most days of his life he was a decent human being. He had a tendency to be violent against people who were weaker than him," said Hazlett.

The baby's mother, Jennifer Jones, did not speak in court yesterday but sat in the back of the courtroom and wept as her husband was sentenced.

Pub Date: 5/11/99

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