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Bail set for Pa. man charged in son's death

December 03, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A Zullinger, Pa., man charged with criminal homicide in the death of his infant son had his bail set at $50,000 Wednesday and will waive his preliminary hearing today, according to prosecution and defense officials.

Shane Michael Barrett, 23, of 5261 Buchanan Trail East, is charged by Washington Township police with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of 3-month-old Kaden Michael Barrett, who died Thursday, Nov. 18, at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center.

Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner listed the cause of death as battered child syndrome and the manner of death as homicide.

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Shane Barrett was in Franklin County Prison on Thursday. District Justice Larry Pentz in Waynesboro, Pa., said that he would be going to the prison today to have Barrett sign the preliminary hearing waiver.

Following his Nov. 22 arrest, Pentz had scheduled Barrett's preliminary hearing for Thursday. Pentz said he would schedule Barrett's mandatory arraignment in Franklin Court for Wednesday, Jan. 12.

District Attorney John F. Nelson said he and Public Defender Michael Toms met Wednesday with Judge Richard Walsh to set the conditions of bail.

"We presented a bail stipulation, and facts we agreed upon would be presented if there was a bail hearing," Nelson said.

According to Nelson, Barrett had no prior criminal record, had lived most of his life in the county and was not considered a flight risk.

In a criminal homicide case, a defendant can be convicted of a range of crimes from first-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter, according to Pennsylvania law. Bail can only be denied if a defendant is facing life in prison or the death penalty.

"From reading the affidavit of probable cause, it does not appear to be a first-degree murder case," Toms said.

"The purpose of bail is to assure appearance" in court, Nelson said. Barrett will not face the death penalty in the case and "it does not appear to be a first-degree murder case," Nelson said.

Nelson said his office is awaiting autopsy results on Kaden Barrett, but the case appears to be one of "a frustrated parent who lost control."

As a condition of bail, Walsh ordered that Barrett not have contact with the infant's mother, Kristen Heckman.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Barrett called 911 on the night of Nov. 17 and the child was found in cardiac arrest.

Barrett initially told police he tripped while holding the child about a week before the child died, according to the affidavit. He also told police he dropped the infant on the night of Nov. 16-17 while changing his diaper, the affidavit stated.

Police allege Barrett later told them he tossed the child face-down onto the floor from about knee level.

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