Brooklyn Park man charged with manslaughter in baby's death

Wednesday,

A Brooklyn Park man has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of his infant daughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Winston Xavier Hicks, 30, was charged by warrant on Nov. 21 in the death of his nine-week-old daughter  and police located and arrested him the following week. His next court appearance is Jan. 2.

According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 3, police arrived at the apartment in the 3400 block of Central Ave. in N.E. Minneapolis where they found the infant not breathing. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police noted the squalor of the apartment, particularly the amount of garbage and dirt that covered much of the residence.

Investigators spoke with the infant’s mother who said she had been drinking and smoking marijuana that evening, and woke up to the infant crying around 1:30 a.m. She placed the baby in a bassinet in the master bedroom and went back to sleep in the living room while Hicks slept in the bedroom with the baby, the complaint states.

At 8:30 a.m., the mother woke to the sound of Hicks vomiting in the bathroom. She went to check on the baby and saw a large, heavy quilted blanket covering the infant’s face. The girl was not breathing and had been foaming at the mouth. The mother called 9-1-1 immediately, the complaint says.

The mother claimed the baby must have pulled the blanket from the nightstand on top of her, causing her to suffocate. Officers investigating the scene noted the improbability of that since the nightstand was still cluttered with objects, including an undisturbed glass of water, the complaint states.

A witness who spent the evening and morning with Hicks and the baby’s mother told police that the three of them had been using cocaine and drinking that night.  Hicks was drunk and was the only person to sleep in the room with the baby. The witness also informed police that an inebriated Hicks killed the baby by covering the girl’s face with the quilt to stop the crying, the complaint continues.

An autopsy revealed that the infant died from asphyxiation.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)