Baby sitter charged in child's death

LAWRENCEVILLE - Police arrested a Lawrenceville woman Thursday on charges she fatally shook and beat an infant she was supposed to be baby-sitting.

Latasha Malone, 34, faces murder and cruelty to children charges in the death of her relative, Jayden Jamison, who was born two days after Christmas last year.

Malone was tasked with baby-sitting the boy and her own 4-year-old son Tuesday night at her Old Peachtree Road residence when she called police to report Jayden wasn't breathing, according to a police report.

Malone told police she had fallen asleep on an upstairs bed with her son near Jayden, who was sleeping in a cradle. When she awoke, Malone claimed, her son was carrying the infant, who wasn't breathing.

The infant's mother and father had retrieved him and rushed to a hospital before police arrived.

Malone's account differs from what investigators have concluded - that she shook and struck Jayden hard enough to cause retinal hemorrhaging and a skull fracture, a condition commonly known as Shaken Baby Syndrome.

It was unclear late Thursday when the child was pronounced dead. Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Illana Spellman could not confirm exactly how Malone and the victim are related.

The incident marks Malone's second arrest for alleged violence against minors this year.

In January, Malone's teenage daughter told police her mother choked and punched her following an argument over the teen's visiting Discover Mills mall. At the time, her daughter had recently lived with a friend's mother, who took the child in fearing for her safety in the presence of Malone, according to a police report.

Malone was arrested Jan. 17 on charges of battery and obstructing police, after she provided an officer a fake name for her boyfriend, who was also arrested, the report said. She posted $3,700 bond a day later and was released.

An officer contacted the Division of Family and Children Services regarding the January incident. It was unclear Thursday what action, if any, that agency took.

Malone remains at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.