Father guilty in death of infant
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Aug 15, 2014, 09:35
Bradley W. Simmons
CHESTERFIELD — A local man charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 6-week-old child pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduce charge.
Bradley Wayne Simmons, 23, who was living in the 15200 block of Timsberry Circle in southern Chesterfield at the time, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter, a class 5 felony that could bring up to 10 years in prison. The plea was part of an agreement with prosecutors.
Simmons has been in jail since the incident in March 2013.
Jayden Simmons was taken to Virginia Commonwealth Medical Center in Richmond after he was found to be lethargic by another person, according to
Chesterfield County Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney M. Duncan Minton Jr.
Jayden later died at the hospital.
Minton said Jayden suffered cerebral and retinal hemorrhaging, or bleeding in the brain and eyes, related to abusive head trauma, formerly known as “Shaken Baby Syndrome.”
He said medical experts also believe Jayden had broken ribs that had healed.
Minton said that Bradley Simmons offered numerous excuses as to how the injuries could have happened, saying the baby fell off the bed, was hit in the head accidentally by a video game controller, a bottle fell from a shelf above the crib, and that Simmons shook Jayden when the baby was hyperventilating and Simmons was trying to revive him.
Minton however said that a blow to the head did not fit the injuries, noting that there was no skull fracture.
But Minton acknowledged that a jury trial would have been a gamble.
“Any time you get into a scientific battle, it is risky with a jury,” he said following the court hearing.
Minton said the injuries occurred sometime between March 1 and March 13 and Simmons was not the sole care provider during that time. Minton also said that there were no witnesses when the injury happened.
Simmons’ defense attorney said they would have contested many of the accusations. Simmons said he didn’t play a part in the injuries and his attorney said they would have contested medical experts, including the number and location of rib fractures. She said the child was previously described as happy and pleasant, not in pain.
Simmons said little during the court appearance Wednesday other than “Yes sir” in a soft tone to Judge Steven McCallum’s questions about whether he understood the decision to plead guilty. Simmons stood handcuffed and dressed in a dark green jumpsuit.
The judge accepted the plea deal and a pre-sentence report has been scheduled before the sentence is given out at a later date.