Shaken baby trial gets under way Tuesday
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Dec. 13, 2005 -- The trial of Amine Reda Siraj, the 23-year-old accused of first-degree felony injury to his 3-month-old son in September 2004, got under way Tuesday in the 8th Judicial District Courtroom.

Siraj is accused of causing rib fractures and brain bleeding. Police were alerted of the child's injury on Sept. 18, 2004, when the infant was brought to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital following a seizure in which the child stopped breathing. The child was later taken to Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

On Tuesday morning, Dr. Michael Hauser with Children's Medical Center said he observed four brain injuries and four rib injuries while acting as the pediatrician for the infant, Steven.

"Steven had subdural hemorrhages, four of them of different ages," Hauser testified. "He had one posterior rib fracture on one side and he had three other rib fractures on the other."

The pediatrician explained that based on several tests, including X-rays, MRI an CT scans, it was his opinion that the rib fractures stemmed from two different injuries. He said new calcium formations indicated the left rib fracture was less than a week old.

Upon questioning by defense attorney Gene Stump of Franklin County, Hauser said that he believed, based on medical findings, that the infant's injuries were caused by abuse.

He also testified he believed the brain injuries to be from injuries which occurred at different times.

On questioning by assistant district attorney Steven Lilley, Hauser said the child's injuries could have resulted in death, but in Steven's case he believed the now 18-month-old would be "fairly OK" with no known permanent debilitating injuries.

Hauser also testified that no birth defects or injuries nor previous illnesses noted in the infant's medical records would have caused the brain injuries. Also, a "significant amount of force" would have to be used to cause the rear rib fractures, more than simply holding a child tightly or grabbing a child from behind.

The case is expected to continue for at least another day before a two man, 10-woman jury panel. District Attorney Martin Braddy is acting as Lilley's assistant in the case.

If convicted, Siraj faces a minimum of five years up to a maximum of 99 years or life in prison, and could be assessed a fine up to $10,000, on the injury to a child charge. Robert Newsom, 8th Judicial District judge, is presiding over the case.

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