23-Year-Old Dad Admits Shaking Infant Son ‘Too Rough,’ Killing Him: Cops

A Washington state man reportedly admitted shaking his 4-month-old son “too rough” and has been charged with second degree murder in the boy’s death.

Samuel Bryon Kennedy, 23, was arrested on Tuesday after a social worker at a Tacoma children’s hospital called police to report a child with head trauma had been admitted to the hospital.

The baby died from his injuries on Wednesday, KIRO reported.

Kennedy was arraigned on Friday and entered a not-guilty plea, the Tacoma News-Tribune said.

According to KIRO, the infant came to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital by ambulance after emergency medical personnel found the child not breathing. Doctors at at the hospital told the social worker that the same child had been brought to the hospital 10 to 15 days earlier with two similar injuries, probable cause documents say. The doctors said the injuries were consistent with abusive head trauma.

The social worker told police that Kennedy’s “attitude did not match the tragedy of his child.” He reportedly asked if Child Protective Services had been called and if he was in trouble, the documents say. He also became defensive, insisting he didn’t harm his son.

According to the documents, the child’s mother said that she and Kennedy have three children together — ages 3, 2, and 4 months — and that they’d been married in December after knowing one another for about four years. She said she had gone to work on Tuesday and that Kennedy called her a few hours later to say the baby wasn’t breathing. As she was on her way home, he told her the child was headed to the hospital.

Kennedy reportedly told police initially that his other son threw a bottle that hit the younger boy in the head, leaving a small bump. He said he put the boy back in his rocker, but heard a deep exhale about 15 or 20 minutes later and discovered the boy wasn’t breathing. He went to a downstairs apartment for help from a family members; 911 was called from that apartment.

Kennedy insisted to investigators that he didn’t drop or shake the child and demonstrated how he gave the boy CPR.

“During this demonstration, the defendant imitated grabbing the victim and lifting him to his eye level and shaking him back and forth. Per the report, the defendant appeared to realize the actions he was making with his hands and stopped upon realizing this. He then demonstrated placing the victim on his chest and rubbing his back. After further investigation, the defendant was placed under arrest,” probable cause documents said.

En route to the jail, the documents say, Kennedy would “yell in distress” and then say “I killed my kid.”

During a later interview with investigators, he admitted that he shook the boy “too rough and he started gurgling.” He said he had just gotten the baby settled when the other son threw the bottle, waking the younger boy. That’s when, he said, “I f***** up and shook” him.

“I got frustrated … I didn’t mean to kill him,” Kennedy said.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said its autopsy confirmed the boy died of blunt force trauma to the head. They classified his death as a homicide.

Kennedy is being held on a $1.5 million bond, jail records show.

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[Featured image: Kennedy’s arraignment/Tacoma News-Tribune screenshot]