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Father's lawyer says he didn't hurt baby

June 24, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A Hagerstown man accused of beating and squeezing his infant son earlier this month vehemently denies those charges, his attorney said Thursday.

Charles Herbert Smith appeared before Washington County District Judge Noel Spence via videotape from the local jail, where he has been held without bond since Wednesday.

Spence set a bond of $250,000 and ordered that it be fully secured. Normally, only 10 percent of the full bond must be posted.

Except to answer "yes" and "no" to Spence's questions, Smith was silent during the brief proceeding.

Hagerstown attorney James Balog said his client denies causing any harm to Thomas C. Smith, now 10 weeks old.

The child was listed in fair condition Thursday night at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, a hospital spokeswoman said.

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Smith, 37, of 2 Broadway, Apt. 3, was charged Wednesday with first- and second-degree attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and child abuse - parent, Hagerstown City Police said.

He was taken into custody by police at Vans Inc., a store at Prime Outlets where he is an assistant manager, Balog said.

"He is a lifelong resident, stable in the community and has been cooperative throughout the process," Balog said. "He's no flight risk ... he hasn't the means."

Balog said Smith would agree to pre-trial requirements if he were released on bond.

But the prosecution argued for continued incarceration.

"He has no background, no criminal involvement but these are heinous charges and the state is demanding a high bond," Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes said.

Police said the child had been beaten over a period of several weeks.

The baby was first taken to Washington County Hospital on June 5 where medical personnel found bruises on his face, neck and arm, police said.

Further examination showed the baby had fractured ribs, some a few weeks old, and newer injuries, police said.

Physicians told police the fractures did not occur at the same time because they were in different stages of healing, police said.

The child also had brain damage and swelling caused by oxygen being cut off, police said.

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