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Trial to start in '05 toddler death
Man accused of shaking baby to death

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Norcross man accused of shaking his 18-month-old son to death in 2005 will face an anticipated lengthy jury trial beginning Monday.

Prosecutors say Wade Lewis, 26, murdered his infant son in June 2005 by shaking him violently enough to cause severe brain trauma.

Lewis was arrested June 21 that year and charged with murder, cruelty to children and aggravated battery, all felonies.

He has remained at the Gwinnett County Jail since without bond.

Lewis pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2005, claiming the child fell off a backyard slide.

But medical evidence presented in earlier hearings disputes that claim, indicating the child showed signs of "shaken baby syndrome."

Lewis' trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection Monday, followed by evidence introductions starting Tuesday, said Assistant District Attorney Rich Vandever.

"I anticipate the trial will last the entire week," Vandever said.

Lewis will be represented by defense attorney Scott Drake. If convicted of murder, he could face up to life in prison or the death penalty, according to Georgia law.

The alleged murder happened at a home on Woodvalley Trace in Norcross.

Following the injury, the boy, Isaiah, was hospitalized at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

On June 8, Isaiah was pronounced brain dead. The following day, doctors removed him from life support and he died.

Police began questioning the boy's parents about what had occurred and Lewis initially lied, claiming his wife was caring for their son when he was injured, a Gwinnett police detective said at the time.

Lewis claimed Carla Lewis was playing with their son on a backyard play slide when the boy fell off and hit his head. Lewis allegedly changed his story when confronted with information that his wife was at work that day.

Lewis told police he lied because he had outstanding arrest warrants for probation violation in DeKalb County. His wife is not a suspect in this case.

Lewis then offered a different variation of events, police said. He insisted he was in the backyard with his son but went inside his home to take a phone call, at which time the child fell off a slide.

He later called 911 and told authorities he only shook the baby to try stop his crying after the fall.

An autopsy found the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. A doctor said the child's head appeared to have been slammed against a smooth surface, as there were no cuts or abrasions, police said.

The doctor also noted there were thumb-sized bruises on both sides of Isaiah's chest and four fingertip-sized bruises on each side of his back, consistent with a baby being squeezed by two hands.