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Bingaman guilty of involuntary manslaughter

Hagerstown man convicted in death of 4-month-old

Hagerstown man convicted in death of 4-month-old

November 29, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN ? Shouts of "baby murderer" could be heard Thursday afternoon as Floyd Edward Bingaman III, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 4-month-old boy, was whisked away from the Washington County Courthouse in a police cruiser.

The paternal grandmother of victim Justice Christopher Calvin Myers-Cannon walked toward the cruiser, ordered Bingaman to look at her and screamed that he killed her grandson.

Jurors deliberated for almost 10 hours Wednesday afternoon and Thursday before finding Bingaman, 21, guilty of involuntary manslaughter, first-degree child abuse and second-degree assault.

Bingaman stood between his two attorneys, his fists pressed on the defense table, as the clerk polled the jury regarding its verdict.

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Bingaman faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, Assistant State's Attorney Robert Veil said.

Baby's family reacts to verdict

The baby's mother, Ashley Myers, sobbed as her father held her after court was adjourned.

A distraught woman left the courtroom wailing, after the jury's foreman read that Bingaman was found not guilty of first- and second-degree murder.

The baby's father, Chris Cannon, held his head in his hands, and someone in the audience called Bingaman a "dead man walking" as deputies led him from the courtroom.

The baby's great-grandmother, Shirlene Spessard, shouted "baby murderer" at the closed door to the room where Bingaman was being held.

Bingaman was in custody and held without bond Thursday at Washington County Detention Center.

The state presented several witnesses during two days of testimony in the case. Two expert witnesses testified about the severity of the victim's head injuries, which would have been inflicted by a blunt object, they testified.

The boy had been in the care of his mother and Bingaman in the hours immediately before his injuries were discovered.

Defense requests presentence investigation report

Bingaman's father took the stand in his son's defense Wednesday morning. He was the only defense witness.

At the defense's request, a presentence investigation report will be completed before sentencing. Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. declined to set a sentencing date, pending the completion of the report.

Earlier in the day, jurors asked Long if the testimony of Dr. Allen Walker, director of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, could be read to them again. Walker testified Tuesday that the boy's injuries were "some of the worst I've seen."

Long told jurors they must rely on their collective memory of Walker's testimony.

Jurors also asked if an autopsy report on the boy had been entered into evidence. Long told them it had not been introduced as an exhibit in the trial.

Defense felt 'evidence was lacking'

In a statement made outside the courthouse, Bingaman's attorney Scott Rolle said he respectfully disagrees with the jury's verdict, and Bingaman denies that he committed the crime. The defense felt Bingaman got a fair trial, Rolle said.

The jurors deliberated for a long time, and they took the case seriously, Rolle said.

"I did feel evidence was lacking for a guilty verdict," he said.

State says victim's family 'traumatized'

The state was pleased that Bingaman was convicted of the "very serious first-degree child abuse count," Veil said.

Veil, who described the victim's family as "traumatized" by the verdict, would have liked to see Bingaman face more time in prison, he said.

He thought the jurors carefully looked at the state's exhibits, including a 50-page transcribed statement Bingaman made to police, Veil said.

A number of strong witnesses, including the Washington County Sheriff's deputies who testified and Dr. Walker, helped make the case, he said.

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