Accused abuser pleads innocent

Written by Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat July 17, 2013 11:30 am

A man accused of assaulting his 4-month-old son in early June pleaded not guilty recently to all five felony assault charges.

Shaheed Jameel Hassan Williams, 25, of Sonora, appeared in court Friday morning for his third arraignment. The appearance was previously postponed for gathering of evidence and updating charges.

He is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing — where evidence will be presented —  on Aug. 9.

Since his arrest, four additional felony child abuse charges have been filed in relation to alleged incidences between May 13 and 31. 

The original charge — assault on a child resulting in a coma — still stands and is estimated to have occurred June 1.

The new charges are based on additional evidence from either medical personnel, police interviews or both, according to District Attorney Mike Knowles, who said he could not provide more details because of the ongoing investigation by law enforcement officers.

The child has been released from the hospital to the care of his mother, Knowles said.

Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Eleanor Provost on June 9 approved a restraining order against Williams to keep him from contacting the infant if he is released from county jail. He’s held on $500,000 bail.

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Williams on June 5 at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, after days of interviews with him and Sonora and Oakland medical personnel.

The child initially was taken to Sonora Regional Medical Center because he was not breathing. Medical personnel called the authorities when they discovered suspicious injuries on the infant.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jim Oliver declined to reveal who called 911 or where the infant’s mother was at the time.

Oliver said the mother lives at the same residence as Williams.

Williams was booked into Tuolumne County Jail on the charge of assault on a child resulting in a coma or paralysis. The boy was in critical condition for more than two weeks and predicted not to survive, but has since improved.

Williams’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Carolyn Woodall, declined to comment.