UPDATE: Witnesses Share Harrowing Accounts of Infant Allegedly Thrown by Father
Witnesses said a Melrose man angrily threw the child during a fight with the boy's mother outside of their Malden home.
A Malden District Court judge called Melrose resident Carlos Edwards dangerous and ordered him held without bail for 90 days Thursday.
Edwards, 33, allegedly threw his seven-week-old infant, Carmello Sears, during an argument with the baby’s mother outside her home on Cross Street in Malden on Wednesday, July 20.
Edwards did not attempt to help the child, who was critically injured in the fall. That, according to the judge, was evidence of Edwards' dangerousness.
He faces charges of assault and battery on a child causing substantial body injury, and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and was held without bail pending Thursday's dangerousness hearing.
“He said, 'Here's your baby, and I hope you both die,'” the boy's grandmother, Charlene Nickerson, previously told reporters.
Nickerson accompanied the boy's mother, Crystle Sears, to the courtroom, where both could be seen visibly upset and crying intermittently throughout the hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Catelyn Draper called three witnesses to the stand: two passersby that said they saw the incident, as well the lead investigator in the case.
The two witnesses – Lori Zamboni of Middleton and Anthony Camuso of Malden – said they saw Edwards throw the baby to the ground during a dispute outside of the home.
“(Edwards) took the infant with both hands and (threw him) right down onto the pavement,” Zamboni said. “...I drove around the block and (called) my husband to say 'you won't believe what I just witnessed.'”
“It was a forceful throw,” Camuso said with a gesture, saying the bundled baby – which he had yet to realize was a small child – resembled a football in passing. “He just threw it, got rid of it and walked away.”
“I approached the woman and came to a stop,” he continued. “Out the passenger window I see her reach down and pick up what (Edwards) threw and it was a baby....she just started screaming. 'Oh my God, look at his head...you killed my baby.'”
Edwards, shackled at both his feet and hands, repeatedly shook his head during the testimony. When the Commonwealth introduced photographic evidence of Carmelo's injuries, he was seen making great effort to not look directly at the pieces, which portrayed visible contusions and life support equipment surounding his infant son.
His attorney, Cambridge-based Cheryl McGillivray, cross-examined the witnesses and highlighted some inconsistencies in their stories, such as the clothes that Edwards wore that day and the distance between Sears and Edwards during the altercation.
She said Edwards was simply trying to give the child to her mother, who then dropped the baby.
McGillivray also moved to strike two previous police reports that reportedly document violent acts by Edwards, but were dismissed by the courts – including one in which Edwards allegedly struck a friend in the head with a brick – but that Draper argued nevertheless reflected a dangerous pattern.
Judge Lee Johnson said that state law would permit the inclusion of such evidence during a dangerousness hearing, and declined McGillivray's objection.
“(To not show) any concern for the well-being of a minor has a big impact on this judge,” Johnson told the court. “I find, based on...(Edward's) lack of concern and interest...he is a danger: a danger to the minor child, the mother and community-at-large. I find there is no other alternative here.”
Edwards was led away in handcuffs, but watched on the other side of the courtroom as Crystle Sears applied for – and received – a restraining order against him.
Carmelo has since made a remarkable recovery in only a matter of days, despite two skull fractures on either side of its head. The family left the courthouse without speaking to the press.
If convicted, Edwards faces up to 20 years in jail.