A Washington, DC, man has been arrested following the death of his 5-month-old son earlier this month.
Robert Smith Sr., 28, is accused of squeezing the baby boy to stop him from crying on Aug. 4, New York Daily News reported. He faces a charge of first degree murder.
At 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 4, Robert Jr. woke up and began crying. Smith offered to go and check on his son.
He told detectives in an interview that he “grabbed” the baby around the torso and squeezed him tightly. This was something he had done previously whenever the baby cried, Smith said, according to court documents reported by the Washington Post.
Smith proceeded to tell detectives that he heard a cracking sound, after which he fed the baby and went back to sleep.
Two hours later, the baby began crying again and Smith’s girlfriend went to check on him. She said she tried to feed Robert Jr. for two hours but he would not finish his bottle. She said this did not seem strange at the time because she believed Smith had fed the baby earlier.
When she returned later on, she found Robert Jr. was not breathing.
A medical examination of Robert Jr.’s body uncovered fractured ribs, both old and recent, a fractured vertebra, a fractured wrist and a scabbed abrasion on the baby’s head.
Police stated that Robert Jr. died of multiple blunt-force injuries, the New York Daily News reported.
Smith stated to detectives “I did it,” and described himself as “a monster.”
Representing Smith in court, Natalie Lawson from the Public Defender Service argued for his release from jail until his trial.
“Mr. Smith’s conduct was not intentional,” she said, according to the Post. "He was a good dad in the short time his son was here.”
“This was not a momentary lapse of judgment,” contended Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner, calling for the 28-year-old to remain in custody. "This was repeated conduct over the course of this child’s life.”
Smith told detectives that he had squeezed Robert Jr. in a similar manner three or four times in the days leading up to his death.
Smith is due back in court on Aug. 27.