The Times West Virginian

October 26, 2013

Case of infant’s death going to grand jury

Lewis is being held without bond

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The case of the Marion County man charged with the first-degree homicide of a Taylor County infant has been bound over to the Taylor County grand jury.

Marcus Lewis, 54, of Carolina, appeared in a probable cause hearing Friday morning before Taylor County Magistrate James Lucas.

Charged with murder of a child by refusal/failure to supply necessities, Lewis is being held without bond for the death of a two-and-a-half-month old male infant, his biological child, born in August.

On Oct. 12, according to the criminal complaint, he went to the Boothsville-area residence of the woman with whom he shared a 3-year-daughter to put together a baby bed for the girl.

The mother left to go shopping, leaving him to watch the girl and the infant.

He texted the girl’s mother at 7:51 p.m. that she “was out of control” and had jumped onto the infant.

The infant cried briefly and then stopped crying and eating. Lewis found the infant unresponsive when he checked on him six-and-a-half hours later. He called 911 at 2:23 a.m., reporting an injured infant.

The baby was taken to United Hospital Center early on Oct. 13 by EMS, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

An autopsy conducted by the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that the infant had died of subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain. There were no outward signs of abuse on the body, such as bruising or scratching, to show any physical abuse before death, the complaint states.

This led investigating officers to the conclusion that the baby had died “from shaking by Mr. Lewis,” the criminal complaint filed at Taylor County Magistrate Court stated.

“When (the baby) began to show signs of distress, Mr. Lewis did nothing to help him until he called 911 six and a half hours later and (the baby) was possibly deceased at that time,” the complaint continued.

After hearing from defense and prosecution, Lucas found probable cause to bound the case to the next convening of the grand jury.

Lewis was arrested at his Carolina home Oct. 18. The Taylor County Sheriff’s Department originated the warrant, while the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the Bridgeport and Fairmont detach­ments of the West Virginia State Police served the warrant.

A Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy testified that the state medical examiner determined the baby died from a subdural hematoma that occurred while it was shaken or thrown.

The medical examiner determined that the baby died approximately two hours after the incident had taken place.

The state medial examiner’s office determined infant’s death was a homicide.

Roger Curry of Fairmont, Lewis’ court-appointed attorney, contended that Lewis said his 3-year-old daughter had jumped on the infant while he was watching both of them on Oct. 12.

However, the medical examiner said the child was too small to have caused such severe injuries.

Although Lewis resides in Marion County, he is being charged in Taylor County because that’s where the alleged crime took place, said Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John Bord.

The charge lodged against Lewis by Taylor Sheriff’s Lt. Dayton Lee Mayle Jr. carries the same penalty of life in prison as first-degree murder.

Under West Virginia Code, 61-8D-2(a), any parent, guardian or custodian who maliciously and intentionally causes the death of a child under his or her care, custody or control by his or her failure or refusal to supply such child with necessary food, clothing, shelter or medical care is guilty of murder in the first degree.

Conviction carries a life sentence with or without parole.

Lewis is evening custodian at Monongah Elementary, Marion Superintendent Gary Price said.

He is being held without bond at Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

According to files at the Marion County Magistrate Court and the West Virginia North Central Regional Jail site, Lewis has had previous charges.

He was arrested May 29, 2013, for felony burglary, daytime breaking and entering; on March 26, 2012, on felony charges, and March 26, 2011, on misdemeanor charges.

His trial for the May charges is scheduled on the docket call for Marion County for November.

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.