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Murder trial ordered in death of 2-month-old Ogden infant

Published: Monday, March 12 2012 2:13 p.m. MDT

OGDEN — Kennedy Marshall was just 2 months and 16 days old when she died.

Her brain was swollen and bleeding, her spinal cord had stretched and there were hemorrhages behind the retinas of her eyes.

"The pattern of injuries was consistent with inflicted trauma," Utah's Chief Medical Examiner Todd Grey testified Monday.

More specifically, Grey said the infant's injuries appeared to be caused by violent shaking and then a forceful blow to the child's head. They were not injuries a child could inflict on itself.

Second District Judge Scott Hadley ordered Jeremy Marshall, 35, to stand trial on charges of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the infant's death.

Marshall was not the girl's father, though he was living with the infant and her mother and sharing in her care on Dec. 14, 2011. Emergency crews that day were called to a home on the 2600 block of Van Buren Avenue and found Kennedy Lucille "Baby K" Marshall in need of medical attention due to "unresponsive behavior," according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court.

Those at McKay-Dee Hospital notified Ogden police before transporting the child to Primary Children's Medical Center, because they suspected the injuries were the result of abuse, said Ogden police detective Mark Ramsey.

Later that night, Kennedy died.

"There were signs that were concerning even before she arrived at the hospital," Dr. Loris Frasier said of the baby.

Frasier, who heads up the Center for Safe and Healthy Families at the medical center,  said she was called in to assess Kennedy's injuries to determine whether they were the result of abuse. Just looking at scans sent by those at McKay-Dee had her concerned.

"We had a lot of evidence even before she arrived — from the scans — that she was in bad shape," Frasier said.

Both Grey and Frasier said the child also had fractured ribs and a fractured collarbone, which had healed.

"These fractures indicated a pattern of abuse of this infant over time," Frasier testified. "This combination of injuries demonstrates that this young infant had been repeatedly abused."

Ramsey said officers talked both to Marshall and Kennedy's mother after the child died. Marshall told police he had woken at 3 a.m. to change Kennedy and put her back to sleep. He said he first realized something was wrong at 8:30 a.m. when the child's mother woke him to report that the baby was lethargic and largely unresponsive.

Later, Ramsey said, Marshall's story changed. He told police he stumbled while carrying Kennedy in a baby carrier and that she'd bumped the ground. Then, he reported that the baby's mother said something about hitting Kennedy's head on something in the apartment.

The detective said Marshall also indicated he may not have put Kennedy back in her crib, but may have left her in the bed where he may have rolled on her. Ramsey said he told Marshall that explanation was not consistent with the child's injuries.

Later in December, Marshall attempted suicide, prosecutor Bill Daines said. Upon Marshall's release from the hospital on Dec. 26, Ramsey said he talked to the man one last time before deciding to arrest him.

Marshall first said the child had hit her head on the edge of the crib and then amended his story once again.

"(Marshall said) he put her down, not knowing his own strength and caused this damage," Ramsey said. "Marshall said she hit her head 'pretty hard.'"

After he was bound over on the murder charge, Marshall entered a not guilty plea. A disposition hearing was set for June 5.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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