Trooper testifies on shaken 1-year-old in Smithfield
By Liz Zemba
Published: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A state trooper investigating a report of child abuse testified Thursday that he saw a 1-year-old Fayette County boy, lying unresponsive in his hospital bed, shortly after his mother violently shook him because he would not stop crying.
“His head was completely wrapped in some kind of bandages,” testified Trooper Daniel Boyd during a preliminary hearing for the boy's mother, Jessica Elizabeth Rhodes.
“There was visible blood through the bandages,” Boyd testified. “He had numerous tubes in his mouth and nose.”
Rhodes, 19, of 504 Second St., Smithfield, was held for trial following the hearing before Masontown District Judge Randy Abraham on charges of aggravated assault, child endangerment, reckless endangerment and simple assault.
Rhodes' son, Jonathan, was taken to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh on Dec. 1 for treatment of a head injury. Police said Rhodes shook the boy at her mobile home 11 a.m. Dec. 1 when he would not stop crying.
Boyd testified Rhodes initially told him her son was holding on to a couch to steady himself in a standing position when he fell backward and struck his head on the floor.
During a subsequent interview, when advised a doctor had found the boy's injuries were caused by “abusive shaking,” Rhodes changed her story, Boyd testified.
“When we presented her with the diagnosis … about that not being the way the child was injured, she admitted that she became frustrated with the child because he wouldn't stop crying,” Boyd testified. “Out of frustration … she shook him until he stopped crying.”
Boyd testified Rhodes gave a written statement in which she indicated she did not realize what she had done until her son began to shake on his own. In court, Boyd read from Rhodes' statement.
“I wish I could go back and do it over, but I can't,” she wrote. “I'm really, truly sorry. I wish I could have my son back in my arms.”
Boyd testified that one of Jonathan's doctors indicated the boy suffered “a very significant brain injury.” The physician said the boy is expected to survive, but likely will have permanent brain damage, Boyd said.
Assistant District Attorney Linda Cordaro said she is not authorized to comment on the boy's condition.
Rhodes, who is free on bond, declined comment.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fayette County candy stores say public sweet on jelly beans as well as chocolate
- Connellsville’s new curfew —with stiffer penalties — to begin on April 26
- Attorney says Fayette County officials’ policy on recording goes against state law
- Connellsville not yet worried about possible CDBG cuts
- Brush fire season keeps Fayette firefighters busy
- Celebrate National Library Month with sweet contest in Connellsville
- No date set for closing on proposed hotel property in Connellsville
- Cause of Mill Run turbine collapse still being investigated
- Dunbar discusses renovation of town
- Fayette County residents driving force behind PAlitFest
- Resource fair planned for area veterans