FAIRFIELD — A 26-year-old Fairfield man was ordered Tuesday to face a jury trial for felony child abuse charges for the critical injuries he allegedly inflicted on his 3-month-old son.
Kristopher R. Johnson had an overnight visit with his infant son on Sept. 15, 2013, at his Eagle Way home. When he returned the boy to the mother the next day, she quickly noticed the infant was acting differently. She also noticed a red swelling on the side of his small head, prompting her to take her son to the emergency room, according to testimony at Johnson’s two-day probable cause hearing.
Within a few hours, doctors discovered the baby boy had multiple skull fractures, a broken collarbone, bleeding and bruising in his brain and that his brain had ruptured the protective membrane coating his cracked skull. The severity of the infant’s injuries led local doctors to rush the child to a Sacramento hospital, where brain surgery was done before he was hospitalized for nearly two weeks.
Detectives testified that Johnson called the baby’s mother while she was at the hospital and that he blamed any injuries on her. A detective with the mother used a small tape recorder to record the call.
When detectives interviewed Johnson, he initially insisted nothing bad had happened during his son’s visit and that the baby, who could not yet stand or crawl, had spent almost the entire visit sleeping in a bedroom bassinet.
Later in the interview, Johnson changed his story, saying he had been in the bathroom when he heard the sound of the bassinet tumbling over. After washing his hands, he said he went into the bedroom and found the baby under the bassinet, according to police testimony.
When detectives searched Johnson’s home, they found the bassinet had a bent leg but that it was still sturdy. A pediatrician testified that a fall onto a carpeted floor could not cause injuries as severe as those suffered by the baby. The pediatrician testified the injuries were almost certainly caused by a slamming type of trauma.
Judge Robert Fracchia ended the hearing by ordering Johnson to stand trial on felony charges of child endangerment and corporal injury to a child. Johnson is scheduled to be arraigned March 11. He has been in jail since his arrest a few days after his son was critically injured.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.