Prosecutors on Wednesday described a Gustine man accused of killing his son as a frustrated parent who “never wanted to be a father,” while his defense attorney said he’s the victim of a “tragic accident” in the death of the child.
Andrew L. Sanchez was charged with murder and child cruelty in July 2015, days after he was arrested by Merced County Sheriff’s Office detectives. He is accused of killing 9-month-old Maddix Ramsour on March 5, 2015, at a home in the 30000 block of Cottonwood Road in Gustine.
“Baby Maddix” was “slammed so hard” it jostled his brain and skull, according to Deputy District Attorney Sara Rosenthal. “We believe this case will show this is a case about frustration,” she said.
Sanchez fathered two children, but was not present for either of their births, Rosenthal said, and only became part of their lives after paternity tests showed he was the father.
We believe this case will show this is a case about frustration.
Deputy District Attorney Sara Rosenthal
Sanchez has told at least two different versions of how the child suffered injuries. In one version, the child fell about two feet from atop a bed, Rosenthal said, and another version in which his 3-year-old daughter hurt the child while Sanchez was outside.
During the course of the trial, jurors will learn there was no history of child abuse from Sanchez, according to his defense attorney Stephanie Jamieson, a Merced County deputy public defender. “He did not use force on his son,” she said. “He did not murder his son. This was an accident.”
A reluctant father, according to Rosenthal, Sanchez expressed frustration in a text message to the child’s mother about the crying child, calling him a “little b----.”
He did not use force on his son. He did not murder his son. This was an accident.
Defense attorney Stephanie Jamieson, a Merced County deputy public defender
She said evidence will show doctors, paramedics, officers and others were skeptical of Sanchez’s version of events. A neurosurgeon described the injuries to the veins in the baby’s brain like “wires being ripped from a plug.”
Jamieson said experts will tell jurors there were other ways that the baby could have been injured, including during three prior falls while under the care of the baby’s mother. “This was not the first time Maddix had fallen from the bed,” she said.
Those prior falls could have caused the last fall to be deadly, she said, what she called a “re-bleed” from previous injuries.
“You will not hear any evidence of prior abuse of Maddix ... No bruises,” she told jurors. “No broken bones. No scratches. No cuts. The only injury to Maddix was the bleeding in the brain.”
Testimony in the trial is expected to continue Thursday.