Jaime Lynn Clark lived for six months and nine days, long enough to respond to the comings and goings of her family, to recognize the faces and caresses of the sister with whom she shared a bedroom, the mother who bathed and fed her, and the father who is accused of killing her.
For most of her life, Jaime Lynn lived with her young unmarried parents -- James Lee Randall and Jayne Clark -- in a middle-class subdivision home near Upper Marlboro, not far from the the graphic plant where her father works 80 hours a week as a supervisor.
Then, on May 22, according to documents filed by Prince George's County police, Jim Randall, who has been described by friends as quite, kind, hard-working and generous, curled his fingers into a fist and hit his 6-month-old daughter several times in the head and stomach.
Three days later, on Sunday, May 25, an ambulance took the baby to where an emergency room doctor declared her dead on arrival at 12:16 p.m. Bruises were discovered on the baby's head, an autopsy was performed, and police called Clark and Randall in for questioning. They arrested Jim Randall a week ago, charging him with child abuse and murder.
Jaime Lynn's only real legacy is statistical. If the autopsy results show that the beating helped kill her, she will be counted among the 2,000 children who die in America each year at the hands of their parents or other adults.
Her case, however, will not fit a particular pattern, for the experts have not found such a pattern that applies to child abuse cases, according to David Sears of the federal government's National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect.
"There's no such thing as a typical case," Sears said. "You can't draw a profile and say, 'Child abusers look like this.' We're just beginning to scratch the surface of what it is that happens in these cases."
Information about child abuse and neglect is still so sketchy, Sears said, that no one can say if it happens more in poor families than rich ones, or more in white families than black or Hispanic ones. But, he added, "The range covers all economic categories and all ethnic ones, that's for sure."
In the case of Jaime Lynn Clark, there were no warning signals.
She was born at Southern Maryland Hospital on Nov. 16, 1979, weighing almost 10 pounds. Shortly after she left the hospital, she and her mother moved into Randall's home on Brimfield Drive.
It was a comfortable home in a neighborhood of three- and four-bedroom houses that cost about $60,000, according to a local real estate agent. The streets and lawns of the Roblee Acres subdivision are quiet during school hours and overrun with children and bicycles and dogs afterward.
Jim Randall, 23, brought the home there in 1978. Those who know him say he bought it to please his wife, Pamela, in the hopes it might keep a rocky marriage afloat.
Money was no problem in the purchase of the house, or the purchase of other things Jim Randall wanted. He works like a demon, friends and co-workers say, routinely putting in seven-day, 80-hour weeks at Graphics Communications, Inc., working with the heavy machinery, lifting huge rolls of paper, supervising other workers. He earns the $25,000 a year that his attorney says he makes.
"He was the hardest-working guy I know," said Terry Bryant, a 22-year-old printer who went to school with Randall at Largo High School, worked with him at Graphic for a while after both graduated, and lived with him and his wife in the Roblee Acres home for a year or more.
"He was the best of natured guys that I've ever lived with in my life," added Bryant. "He would always be giving people expensive presents . . . He lent me his brand-new Camaro when I went on my honeymoon."
At times, according to Bryant and others who knew him, Jim Randall was almost generous to a fault. "He once loaned a guy he hardly knew $200 for an insurance payment," Bryant said, adding that the money, as far as he knew, was never repaid.
But while generous with his money, Jim Randall tended to be close-mouthed about himself. The oldest of four children of Kenneth and Grace Randall -- a former Air Force man and the Japanese wife he met while stationed abroad -- Randall had few close friends, spending most of his time at work or with his brother Jerry and with Bryant.
About two years after he got out of high school, he met Pamela Buckey, the daughter of an occasional employe of his father, who runs the graphics plant. Randall had known Pamela as a little girl. When he saw her again, he fell in love.
"I took Pam with me to work one day and Jimmy was there and that was that," her mother, Doris Buckey, said recently. Just before she graduated from DuVal High School in Lanham, "they came to me and said they wanted to get married," Buckey said.
Both sets of parents tried to discourage the pair, but no persuasion worked. On Oct. 15, 1977, they were married. By Christmas, Pam had come back to her mother's house for a night or two several times. By March, they were separating for longer periods.
Pam, according to her mother and others, was impatient with Randall's devotion to work. There were arguments, scenes, but neither Buckey nor Bryant ever heard anything about violence.
Late in the summer of 1978, Jim Randall set about to buy a house for himself and Pam. They moved in the first week in September. She moved out for good three days later. She started going out with other men.
"He was brokenhearted," Buckey said. "She was his first love. He was her first love. Jimmy has always been a super person in my book. The whole thing was terible. He took it very hard."
Jim Randall filed for divorce -- which is still pending -- and started going out with other women, said Bryant, who moved in with his friend at that time. But Randall was still miserable. Jayne Clark, who had started work in the bindery department of Graphic at about that time, was one of the women he dated.
Early last year she became pregnant. Randall, Terry Bryant said, "more of less quit going out with other girls when Jayne got pregnant." He started to pay the rent on her apartment, Bryant added. On weekends, every now and again, she would move in with Jim Randall, Bryant, and Bryant's fiance, Debbie at the Brimfield Drive home.
But the Bryants, who were married last year, did not get along well with Jayne. When she moved in for good, after Jaime Lynn was born, they moved out.
"He was extremely good-natured about the problem of [Jayne] getting pregnant," Terry Bryant said. "He came out and told me that he didn't love her but he said she was having his baby" and he was responsible for her.
"I've never seen him use violence," Bryant added. "Even when his wife left him."
Pamela Randall, who after the separation moved in with her mother in Columbia, has since gotten engaged and three weeks ago had a little girl of her own, according to her mother.
And Jim Randall continued working hard for his father who, as Terry Bryant and others describe him, is a self-made man wedded to the twin virtures of hard work and a tight-knit family life. "Jim's father never had anything handed to him," Bryant said.
When Jayne was away during the day or evening, baby sitters would take care of Jaime Lynn and Lynn Clark, Jayne's 7-year-old daughter by her earlier marriage.
The day that police say Jaime Lynn was beaten, Jayne was not home, according to a law-enforcement source.She had left for a few days, telling Jim she was going to spend time with a girlfriend, the source said.
That same week, she called up a 13-year-old neighbor to arrange for her to baby-sit for Jaime Lynn on Sunday afternoon, while Jayne and Jim and Lynn went to the movies. Sunday morning, she called up the baby sitter's mother -- who asked that her name and her daughter's not be used -- and said that they wouldn't need a baby sitter, they were taking the baby with them.
Later, the neighbor said, "they, called up and said the baby had died." Jaime Lynn was taken to Prince George's General Hospital and pronounced dead.
For two days last week, Jim Randall was held in the Prince George's County detention center without bond. He wore county-issue gray jumpsuits and when he came to court, his wrists were manacled to those of other prisoners. "He saw a world there he had never seen before," said his attorney, James E. Fannon Jr., who has known the Randall family for years.
On Friday, Fannon persuaded District Court Judge Louis J. DiTrani to release Randall on $25,000 bond. Jayne Clark picked Jim Randall up at the detention center and, according to those close to them, they left home for the weekend.
Reached at home yesterday, Jim Randall would not comment on the case. Repeated efforts to contact Jayne Clark were unsuccessful.
Jim's father, Kenneth, had never seen the baby, according to someone who knows the family. Kenneth Randall was also said to believe his son was not selective about the women he chose to spend time with. But he was also very proud of his Jim, of his hard work and his quiet, sober ways.
"Jim's just one hell of a guy," Terry Bryant said. "He went from high school to working full time for his dad. Yes, he felt he'd been shafted a couple of times by people he was trying to help." Later, Bryant said, "I just can't believe he did it, that he ever hit the kid."