Pasadena man guilty in death of toddler

18-month-old in his care died of violent shaking

January 14, 2003|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A Pasadena man pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of child abuse resulting in death in the fatal shaking in February of 18-month-old Sara Ann Concannon, who was left in the man's care for the afternoon.

Relatives of the toddler wept as they left the courtroom after the guilty plea by David Arthur Malloy, 21. Surrounded by family, the child's mother, Christal Ann Hayden, said loudly that she hoped Malloy would be "in jail, where he needs to be, and he stays there for the rest of his life."

State guidelines call for 20 years in prison when Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North sentences Malloy on March 4. The maximum sentence is 30 years, the same as for second-degree murder, which Malloy also was charged with five months after Sara's death.

Assistant State's Attorney Pamela K. Alban said in court that no single explanation Malloy gave police is compatible with all of the injuries the toddler suffered Feb. 18, including two skull fractures, three impact wounds, torn brain tissue and blood in the spinal cord.

But a group of key injuries, such as tiny eye hemorrhages and brain swelling, are seen only after babies have been shaken.

The Utah-based National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome says that a baby can die from being violently shaken for less than 20 seconds.

Sara's life was first in danger when she was 6 months old, when a cigarette set her mother's home ablaze. Her mother dropped her from a second-floor window into the arms of construction workers.

Authorities said that Malloy, who lived with Hayden, her mother and brother, was baby-sitting Sara on Feb. 18 at the Hayden home in Pasadena.

The prosecutor said Sara was alive at 1:55 p.m., when Malloy told the toddler's grandfather by telephone that everything was fine. At 2:11 p.m., Hayden, on the telephone with Malloy from work at Taco Bell, heard Sara calling "Mommy." Malloy said the child hit her head, and Hayden told him the toddler's father was due to pick her up for a visit and could help take care of that.

Cellular telephone records indicate Malloy made eight calls between then and 2:20 p.m., none seeking emergency help.

When the toddler's father, Sean T. Concannon, arrived at 2:28 p.m. and saw the toddler stretched out on a sofa, her eyes unfocused, he called 911.

Malloy gave police several accounts, including saying that the child fell while backing away from the dishwasher. Later, he told authorities that after Sara removed bread from the bread drawer, he picked her up and shook her.

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