Rogers man charged in his baby's death

Friday, May 04, 2018

A man from Rogers has been charged in the death of his five-month-old daughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.

Darnell Jerome Davis, 27, has been charged with second-degree murder and will make his first court appearance this afternoon.

According to the criminal complaint, on August 21, 2016, at 9:48 am, police and paramedics arrived at a house in Rogers on a report of an infant who was not breathing. The child’s mother had contacted police after she received a call at work from her boyfriend, Davis, who had been at home alone with their daughter since about 9 a.m. When he called his girlfriend, Davis said that their daughter had suffered a seizure. But he told first responders that he noticed the baby was not breathing normally after he gave her a bottle.

The baby was transported to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis and emergency surgery was performed. Two days later, a pediatrician specializing in child abuse reported that the baby appeared to have suffered abusive head trauma. The baby died at 9:11 a.m. on August 25.

Davis told a medical provider that he had propped a bottle up for his daughter to eat in her bassinet and left her in the bedroom. According to the criminal complaint, he said he returned when he heard a choking noise. He picked the baby up and ran around the apartment in a panic and hit her head on a doorframe. Davis gave a similar account to an investigator.

An autopsy, performed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner in April 2017, ruled the death undetermined.

When interviewed by detectives in September 2017, Davis persisted in his claim that the baby had hit her head on a doorframe. When confronted with the medical evidence suggesting that his daughter was shaken, he said he may have inadvertently shaken her while running.

On Monday, Davis met voluntarily with an investigator from the County Attorney’s Office. According to the criminal complaint, at first, he stuck with the previous story, but then said he “didn’t mean to” hurt his daughter. He told the investigator that after the baby’s mother left for work that morning, the baby cried for an extended period of time. He admitted he became frustrated, picked her up by the torso and shook her back and forth three or four time. After that, she was quiet and he later noticed that she was not breathing.

Davis married a new girlfriend approximately six months after his daughter died and he now has a seven-month-old daughter from this relationship.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)