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Homicide charge held against Vandergrift man accused of shaking infant

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Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 1:38 p.m.
 

Homicide and other charges were held for court Tuesday against a Vandergrift man accused of shaking his infant daughter so hard that she suffered fatal brain damage.

Matthew Milisits, 30, of Sherman Avenue, remains in the Westmoreland County jail. He is charged with homicide, aggravated and simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment.

Police said Milisits admitted to “violently” shaking 2-month-old Sophia Ludwiczak to get her to stop crying.

The baby was declared brain dead and taken off life support four days after the Nov. 15 incident.

At Tuesday's preliminary hearing, a Westmoreland County prosecutor called a physician who examined Sophia at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the state police officer who questioned Milisits, according to Milisits' lawyer, Duke George Jr.

“And that was the substance of the case,” George said. “They didn't present any evidence that it was my client who was responsible. We also made the argument that there was no evidence of intent to inflict bodily harm or injury.”

Milisits was held for trial by Allegheny Township-based District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec.

According to court records, Milisits was alone with the girl for several hours that day. He told police he covered the infant with blankets in a car seat for the ride back to North Apollo, where her mother, Samantha Ludwiczak, lives. When he uncovered the child, she gasped twice and stopped breathing, according to police reports.

The infant was not breathing when paramedics arrived at Ludwiczak's home and she was flown to Children's.

An autopsy determined that Sophia died from lack of oxygen to the brain caused by head injury.

His formal arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 23 in Westmoreland County Court.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.

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