SAN DIEGO – Zewoinesh Badasso, the mother accused of intentionally throwing her 7-month-old son out a 3rd-floor window, was in court on Wednesday, where she pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and assault on a child.
As you may recall, passersby found the boy–being referred to as “David N.” in court records–on the ground in an alley near the building out of which he was allegedly thrown. CPR was administered and he was rushed to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. The evidence gathered at the scene and the results of questioning Badasso led police to place her under arrest.
Here’s what seems to be known about Zewoinesh Badasso at this time: The 33-year-old (or 32-year-old, depending on your source) came to the U.S. from Ethiopia around 12 years ago thanks to a sponsorship by some unnamed Catholic charity. Even so, she apparently has not developed a good grasp of English, since an interpreter was present with her at Wednesday’s hearing. She had been in San Diego for only a very brief time and did not know the three men with whom she and her son shared the apartment since she had been placed there.
As for little David, it is being reported that he was conceived when a stranger raped Badasso in Las Vegas and was born prematurely.
However, it’s the comments made by both the deputy district attorney and Badasso’s defense attorney during the hearing that make me feel as though the number of unanswered questions has increased exponentially and that I might, at any moment, find myself in The Twilight Zone.
Let’s start with Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney. During Wednesday’s hearing, she told the court that during the autopsy of the infant, the medical examiner noted ligature marks around his neck as well as marks around the face and neck that suggested some sort of beating. Based on Rooney’s account of the medical examiner’s report, the actual cause of death was strangulation, not injuries from a three-story fall.
Defense attorney Amy McDonald suggested a very different scenario, as San Diego’s KGTV reports. “She said she had her son in her arms, and that she wasn’t familiar with the window–it was a new place she had just moved in–and she was holding him and trying to open the window–and there was no screen on the window–the baby just kind of jerked and fell, fell out of her arms and fell out the window.” McDonald went on to say that Badasso went down to the alley after David’s fall…which sounds plausible on the surface, but now I’m remembering that when the police arrived, Badasso was inside the apartment.
Even so, McDonald blasted the notion that Badasso is a noncaring mother, since she was still breastfeeding David at the time of his death. Everyone knows that the choice to breastfeed is based entirely in maternal devotion and has nothing to do with convenience, cost, availability, or, say, being born and raised in Ethiopia.
To add another bit of strangeness to the mix, McDonald reported that Badasso had asked about her son during an attorney-client visit in the jail and wasn’t even aware he had died. As if that weren’t enough…remember the safety gate we talked about in the first article? The attorney said that there was no safety gate on the window at the time of David’s fall but that one was put on the window the following day…so on which day was the video showing the safety gate in the window shot?