Maryland Father Charged With Abuse After Death of Infant Son

Prosecutors urged parents and caregivers to never shake a baby

A 20-year-old father has been charged with child abuse after he shook his 5-month-old son and the infant later died, prosecutors say.

Roger Lee Miller Jr., of Silver Spring, Maryland, was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of child abuse in connection to the death of Darrell Lee Barnes, Montgomery County police said Tuesday. 

County prosecutors believe Miller shook the baby. 

Police say Miller called 911 about 8:10 a.m. Oct. 28 and said his son was struggling to breathe, bleeding from the nose and vomiting.

First responders arrived at the infant's mother’s home on the 1500 block of Heather Hollow Circle in Silver Spring and transported him to Holy Cross Hospital.

There, doctors determined Darrell had suffered trauma to the head.

The infant was transferred to Children’s National Medical Center in D.C., and Montgomery County police were contacted. 

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Two days later, little Darrell died. Medical personnel determined his injuries "were not sustained accidentally," police said. Autopsy results are pending. 

Miller was charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in severe physical injury and first-degree child abuse resulting in death.

Miller's lawyer said his client denies he caused the baby's injuries.

The lawyer said Miller had no criminal record as an adult. As a juvenile, he was charged with a sex offense.

Miller's mother appeared in court Tuesday to support her son.

"There's plenty of good about him. That's all you need to know," she said.

The baby's mother told police her child was healthy and alert when she left him about 6:20 a.m. Oct. 28. Miller was the only person with the baby when he was hurt, police said. 

Prosecutors said that at one point Miller tried to blame the child's mother on his death. Authorities ruled out the notion that she had been involved.

Montgomery County State's Attorney spokesman Ramon Korionoff pleaded with parents and caregivers to never shake a baby.

"A five-month-old child -- whether they're crying or despondent or having problems with their digestion or with their sleep patterns -- shaking them to the point of nose bleeding and severe trauma is not appropriate behavior," he said.

Miller was held without bond. If convicted, he faces as long as 65 years in prison. He is due in court in early February.

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