Charges of child abuse and murder against a Dale City man who confessed to police that he violently shook his 7-week-old son and slammed the infant's head into the floor will be presented to the Prince William County grand jury next month.
At a preliminary hearing this week in Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, a judge referred three charges of felony child abuse and one count of felony murder against Ricardo Robles, 21, to the grand jury, which is scheduled to convene Oct. 4. Robles allegedly admitted to police that he seriously injured his infant son, Jesus, while trying to stop him from crying.
The baby's mother, who has not been charged in connection with his death, brought the infant to Potomac Hospital early on June 5. The baby was then flown to Fairfax Hospital's intensive care unit, where doctors diagnosed injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome. The infant stopped showing signs of brain activity June 11, was removed from life support, and died later that afternoon.
An autopsy report indicated that the baby had signs of retinal hemorrhaging and internal bleeding around the brain--signs that he was violently shaken--as well as a severe skull fracture that ran from ear to ear, said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Claiborne Richardson II. Richardson said the 54-day-old baby, who weighed 13 pounds at the time of his death, was brutally injured over a four-day period.
Prince William County detectives interviewed Robles numerous times before the baby died, and police said he offered several stories about how his son was injured. Richardson said Thursday that Robles at first indicated that Jesus had fallen out of his lap and onto the floor and later said that he had shaken the baby on more than one occasion over a period of a few days. Ultimately, Robles told police that he threw the baby to the floor.
"He took the baby, who was in a sitting position, and threw the baby's head backward to the floor," Richardson said. "He said he couldn't deal with the baby's crying."
Robles told authorities that the baby's mother, who is 19, was not present when the infant was injured and did not know how he was injured until after he was hospitalized.
If indicted and convicted, Robles could face up to 10 years in prison for each felony child abuse charge and up to 40 years for the felony murder charge. Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. referred all four charges to the grand jury. Robles is being held in the county jail without bond.