Williams admits to baby beating

By Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat August 12, 2013 11:30 am

A Sonora man pleaded guilty Friday to assaulting his 4-month old son earlier this summer — putting him in a coma and possibly paralyzing him for life — and inflicting cruel corporal injury on the infant two other times. 

Shaheed Jameel Hassan Williams, 25, appeared in Judge Eleanor Provost’s courtroom in Tuolumne County Superior Court for a preliminary hearing. 

He wore a red Tuolumne County Jail jumpsuit, not displaying much emotion, and pleaded guilty to three of the five child abuse charges he faced.

He admitted to the most serious offense of assault for putting his son, Shaheed Williams Jr., in a coma for at least four days, after choking him until he stopped breathing.

Prosecutors agreed to drop two of four counts of inflicting cruel corporal injury on previous dates after he admitted to the choking his child about June 1 and striking him on two dates in late May.

Medical experts said Williams Jr. may be permanently paralyzed.

He is suffering a brain injury and may never walk, according to District Attorney Mike Knowles.

Williams faces up to a life sentence in prison with the possibility of parole for the most serious charge, and up to and 7 years, 4 months in prison for the earlier assaults. He could be paroled after 14 years in prison.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in Department 1. 

Knowles said Williams also violated his probation, arising from an earlier auto theft charge in Stanislaus County, and that could factor into his sentence. 

When asked by Provost if he felt he had enough time and legal advice to admit to the charges, Williams answered stoically, “Absolutely, I do.”

Williams Jr. was recently released back into his mother’s custody, but has since gone back to the hospital for surgery on his head, Knowles said outside the courthouse after the hearing.

Williams Jr.’s mother did not return calls for comment. 

Knowles said this was the right resolution to the case, as “the provable conduct is horrific,” and “any time you have a violent crime behind closed doors in the home, it becomes very difficult to sort out the facts,” in regards to the five charges that account for five different alleged assaults.