The only way five-week-old Millan Young could have been so badly injured was if the infant was shaken and slammed against a hard surface, the Cobb medical examiner testified Thursday.
The 12-year-old boy charged with the death of his infant cousin will learn Friday if he will be found guilty of murder in Cobb County Juvenile Court.
Under Georgia law, the maximum sentence the boy faces is prison until he turns 21, prosecutors said.
On Thursday afternoon, the sixth grader decided not to testify at his own trial.
"I wish to remain silent," the boy told Judge Gregory Poole. The AJC is not naming the boy, in accordance with a special court order that allows unusual access to a juvenile proceeding.
The baby's mother, Brittiany Young of Kennesaw, said she left her infant daughter alone in the car with the boy while she went into a Target store in Marietta on July 4. She returned to the car to find her baby unresponsive, she said.
An autopsy showed the baby died of blunt force trauma to the head.
"The manner of death, I believe it was a homicide. These injuries were not the result of an accident and the child obviously did not cause the injuries to herself," testified Dr. Brian Frist, Cobb's chief medical examiner.
On Thursday, the judge listened to doctors and the medical examiner detail the baby’s injuries – bruises all over her 6.9-pound body, multiple skull fractures and bleeding in her brain
The injuries show the baby was struck against a hard surface, such as the car console or window
, Frist said. He demonstrated the way the baby could have been struck by banging a doll against the witness stand.
The trauma could not have been caused by a fall from a changing table or any other accident because the fractures were on both sides of the skull, the medical examiner testified. The baby also had bleeding behind her eyes showing she had been shaken.
Late Thursday, the judge reviewed the medical examiner's photographs of the bruising and hemorrhaging in the baby's head. The boy's mother, Camille Curtis, covered her son's eyes so he would not see the photographs. The judge had ordered Curtis to sit next to the boy after he was caught dozing off twice during doctors’ testimony.
The boy’s attorney, Derek Wright, questioned the medical examiner about the possibility that the baby's injuries could have happened at home.
But the medical examiner insisted the injuries must have been recent and occurred in the car.
“If the child was alert and itself when the mother left the vehicle, and unresponsive when the mother returned, I know the child was struck in the vehicle,” Frist said. “This is what happened. It struck a hard surface.”
On Thursday morning, doctors testified that the baby arrived at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital’s emergency room with swelling around her face and lips. Tests showed she was bleeding between the second and third layer of the brain.
"In a baby that age, that is an absolute indicator of non-accidental trauma,” testified Dr. Mark Brown, a pediatric physician at Kennestone.
Other than the head trauma, Millan Young was a “fairly well developed” baby and had no signs of illness, Brown said.
In a taped interview with police, the boy said he tried to comfort the crying baby by giving her pacifier and a bottle. He later said the baby started choking so he took her out of the car seat. That's when he dropped her, the boy said.
The boy’s mother said it was an accident.
The boy – who gets As and Bs and has no medical problems – is from Tampa. He was visiting his family at the time of the incident, his mom said.
He is being held at a group home in DeKalb County, where he is able to attend school. He was originally held at the Cobb County Regional Youth Detention Center.