Lack of reports stalls baby assault trial

Written by Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat June 10, 2013 12:30 pm

A Sonora man accused of assaulting his 4-month-old son, who is clinging to life at an Oakland hospital, will return to Tuolumne County Superior Court on Friday for further arraignment.

Shaheed Jameel Hassan Williams, 25, appeared via video from Tuolumne County Jail for his arraignment last Friday afternoon but did not enter a plea.

Deputy Public Defender Clay Bedford asked that the arraignment be continued because he had not yet received evidence from the District Attorney’s Office. 

District Attorney Mike Knowles said he had only received a probable cause statement from the Sheriff’s Office and not any sensible reports.

Williams is charged with felony assault on a child resulting in a coma or paralysis, but Knowles said he expects to amend the charge based on the infant’s condition.

He told the court Friday that the infant was on life support and not expected to survive.

Judge Eleanor Provost ordered a restraining order against Williams to keep him from contacting the infant if he is released.

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s detectives arrested Williams on Wednesday at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, after days of interviews with him and Sonora and Oakland medical personnel. He was booked into Tuolumne County Jail on charge of assault on a child resulting in a coma or paralysis. He remains jailed on $500,000 bail.

About 6 p.m. Saturday, Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received a 911 call that the infant was not breathing and was turning blue. An ambulance responded to Williams’ home on the 12800 block of Chukar Circle and transported the child to Sonora Regional Medical Center. 

While trying to stabilize the infant, Sonora hospital staff discovered bleeding in his brain. They suspected child abuse was the cause of injuries and contacted the Sheriff’s Office. The baby was transported to the Oakland hospital for specialized care.

Because of the ongoing investigation, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jim Oliver declined to reveal who placed the 911 call and where the infant’s mother was at the time.

Oliver said the mother lives at the same residence.

The arraignment is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. in Department 4.