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Father's charges upgraded to murder

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Child cruelty charges against a Lawrenceville man have been upgraded to murder following the death of his 2-month-old daughter, records show.

Lawrenceville police had charged Douglas Atha, 28, with shaking his infant daughter to the point she stopped breathing and had no pulse the night of Nov. 1.

The child was hospitalized and reportedly revived but has since died. An arrest warrant for Atha lists the child's cause of death as "blunt head trauma."

The incident happened at Atha's Tall Timber Court residence.

The child's grandmother told police she'd been folding clothes when Atha began yelling that his daughter wasn't moving. She'd last heard the child cry about 10 to 15 minutes earlier and thought Atha was feeding her a bottle, according to a police report.

The grandmother "went back to the bedroom where (Atha and the child) were both lying on the bed and told me she thought (the child) looked blue," the officer wrote. The child's aunt carried her to a living room and called 911.

Lawrenceville police responded to the home about 11 p.m. to find the infant on the floor, not breathing. A responding officer wiped spit-up from the baby's mouth and began chest compressions until paramedics arrived.

Atha's court-appointed attorney, Wystan Getz, did not return a call for comment Monday afternoon.

A probable cause hearing for Atha is scheduled Friday afternoon in Gwinnett Magistrate Court.