Dad shakes baby boy to death: 3-month-old had dozens of broken bones, severe bruises

A Portland, Maine, father who shook his 3-month-old so severely that he suffered hemorrhaging and more than two dozen broken bones was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday.

Eugene Martineau, 25, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the October 2015 death of his infant son, Leo Josephs. Josephs, who died from head trauma and catastrophic brain swelling, had 24 broken ribs, a broken wrist, and a broken ankle, according to WSCH.

The Portland Press Herald reported that Josephs was born at 30 weeks with his twin sister, Leah. Though Leo was released in early August, Leah was in intensive care until a few weeks after her brother’s death. Her grandparents later adopted her.

While the baby’s mother worked, Martineau cared for Leo in a home occupied by nine other adults and some children. Assistant Attorney General Leann Robbin claimed that the defendant was frustrated by his son and routinely abused him.

An affidavit obtained by the Herald revealed that the Portland man shook Leo with enough force cause his head to “snap back and forth.” This violent act was said to cause a seizure which killed the baby three days later

During a taped confession, Martineau told Detective Lauren Edstrom that his son’s crying was “obnoxious.”

“Martineau stated he would push down on baby Leo[‘s] chest to get the air out to make him stop crying. He said he did this three to four times because he ‘couldn’t handle it.’”

While Robbin called Martineau’s treatment of Leo “torture,” an emergency room doctor testified that the victim had a combination of old and fresh injuries—which included hemorrhaging and severe bruises.

Defense attorney Heather Gonzalez argued that her client had a tough upbringing, with his mother giving him and his brother to the state when Martineau was 9. The defendant lived in nine foster homes until he turned 18. Gonzalez claimed that while he regretted what he did to his son he was raised not to ask for help, according to WGME.

“[My son] deserved much better from me. I wasn’t even close to being as ready [to be a parent] as I wanted to be,” the 25-year-old said in court.

Prosecutors dropped murder charges following Martineau’s January guilty plea. Though lawyers originally agreed to a 30-year-sentence—the maximum penalty for manslaughter—prosecutors pushed for a 15-year prison sentence while Marineau’s lawyers sought 10. The judge ultimately sided with the state.

Martineau will be on probation for four years after serving out his sentence.

[Featured Image: Cumberland County Jail/WMTV]