toothpasteWASHINGTON, DC – Robert Smith Sr. has been charged with first-degree murder after police say he he squeezed his 5-week-old son so hard that he fractured the infant’s vertebrae and ribs.

According to the court documents, the infant’s mother called 911 when she went to check on the baby and found he was not breathing.

The baby would be pronounced dead at the hospital where the medical examiner would find the infant had suffered rib fractures, both recent and old; a fractured vertebra; a fractured wrist; and a scabbed abrasion on the back of his head.

Smith would admit to detectives that on the day of his son’s death, he woke up about 7:30?a.m. that morning to his son crying. Smith went to check on him and squeezed him “like you squeeze a roll of toothpaste” until he heard a cracking sound. The boy went limp and groggy, so he placed him back in his sleeper.

Smith admitted that this squeezing technique was one he had employed on previous occasions when his son would cry or become fussy – about three or four times a day in the days leading up to his death. He also said that one time he bent over to pick up a diaper while holding his son. He forced his son to bend back so far that he went limp in his arms.

Two hours later, the baby started crying again. This time the boy’s mother tried to feed him but he would not finish his bottle, so she put him back in his sleeper and went to sleep. She would find the boy not breathing later that day. She screamed for help while Smith began CPR on the baby.

Smith was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Despite describing himself as a “monster,” his lawyer argued her client did not intend to kill his son and that he should be released from jail because he has no prior record, has a job and a bachelor of science degree from the University of the District of Columbia.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner disagreed, arguing that Smith should remain in jail because this was not a momentary lapse of judgment, but rather “repeated conduct over the course of this child’s life.” Magistrate Judge Renee Raymond agreed, finding that Smith was a danger and would remain in the D.C. jail until his trial.

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