Defense: Dead infant had prior complications
Murder charges against sitter stick

LAWRENCEVILLE - Jayden Jamison, who died in February at just six weeks old, had been delivered two months premature when a vehicle crash injured his 17-year-old mother.

Doctors at the time gave Jayden a 50/50 chance of pulling through his first days of life, according to testimony Wednesday.

Defense attorneys for Latasha Malone - the baby sitter charged with shaking and beating the boy to death Feb. 7 - argue the child's death could have stemmed from undiagnosed injuries he'd sustained in the womb.

No evidence presented in Malone's probable cause hearing Wednesday directly implicates her in causing Jayden's death, said her attorney, Romin Alavi.

The child had stopped breathing once before, Alavi pointed out, during a trip to an aunt's home in South Carolina.

"There's been no evidence of any kind that this woman struck this child," Alavi said.

Gwinnett Magistrate Robert Waller nonetheless found probable cause to bind two felony charges against Malone - murder and first-degree child cruelty - to Superior Court, where a bond hearing could be held later.

The victim is the son of Malone's nephew's girlfriend. Both the child's care-givers had been living with Malone for a week prior to Jayden's injury. They entrusted Malone to care for the child while they left for a Saturday evening, testified Gwinnett police Det. A. E. Weed.

Malone told investigators she fell asleep in a bedroom of her Lawrenceville home with Jayden, unsecured in a suspended bouncing chair, nearby on the bed. When she awoke, she claimed, her own 4-year-old son, Kennedy, was holding the unconscious child in his arms.

Jayden died of blunt force trauma at an Atlanta children's hospital about six days later.

Doctors said the injuries - two skull fractures and retinal hemorrhaging, the classic red flags of Shaken Baby Syndrome - would have impacted Jayden immediately, Weed said.

Even if the child would have fallen from the bed - or had been dropped by Malone's son - doctors said the impact wouldn't have caused such injuries, Weed testified.

Malone, 34, who has denied striking the child, was arrested weeks prior to Jayden's injury on battery charges for allegedly choking and punching her teenage daughter. She remains at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.