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Pa. man charged with shaking baby

February 29, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg man was in Franklin County Prison Tuesday after being charged with shaking his infant son so hard the child required brain surgery, according to Chambersburg police.

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In an affidavit filed against William F. Owen, 25, of 61 N. Main St., police allege he told them the 5-month-old was crying as he was watching TV, angering him because it "was his personal time."

Owen was arraigned Tuesday before District Justice Gary L. Carter on charges of first-degree felony aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, a third-degree felony. He was jailed on $75,000 bond, according to a prison official.

The report said Anthony Owen was taken to Chambersburg Hospital on Jan. 20 after having an apparent seizure. On Feb. 4 the infant was examined by a pediatric specialist at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center and underwent surgery for bleeding in the lining of the brain.

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Other injuries revealed by CAT scans done at Chambersburg Hospital also revealed a retinal hemorrhage and several rib fractures, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Anthony Owen has since been discharged from Hershey Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

A pediatrician told police the injuries "did not result from falling" and the seizure was "a result of nonaccidental trauma."

William Owen was interviewed by police on Feb. 11, police said. Officers allege in the affidavit the incident occurred Jan. 20 as William F. Owen watched TV. When Anthony began crying, Owen summoned his wife to tend to the boy, but she did not answer, it alleges.

"He asked Anthony to be quiet several times, but he continued to cry," police alleged. "He then picked Anthony up from his carrier with his hands under his arms and shook him while asking him what was wrong."

The child continued to cry and was shaken again, the affidavit alleges.

"Anthony then went into a hysterical cry and a short while later went limp."

The affidavit alleges the child's rib injuries may have come from the father falling on him. The affidavit said Anthony Owen was crying at another time and when William Owen got up to check on him, he tripped and fell "with his hand and full body weight on Anthony's chest."

Conviction on a charge of aggravated assault carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Conviction on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child carries a maximum sentence of seven years, according to state law.

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