Lawton_Comanche County District Judge Allen McCall handed down a guilty verdict for Dominic Jackson Thursday. The Lawton man was charged with shaking a baby to death and it was the conclusion of his non-jury trial that started in October. Jackson was originally charged with second degree murder for the death of his girlfriend's infant son in July of last year. Now, because of a new child abuse law, his charge was upgraded to first degree murder.
When it comes to first degree murder of an adult - there has to be proof of intent to kill - but, not with this new child abuse law. When a child's death is involved the prosecution doesn't have to prove intention. And, in this case, it made all the difference in the verdict.
"It's been our theory all along that the baby did not die for any willful or malicious child abuse, but rather what occurred was the result of an accident," says Jim Berry - Jackson's attorney. "The baby grabbed my client's collar - as he was trying to push him away the baby accidentally fell out of his hands and caused the injury that the baby eventually died of."
But, because of this new law, whether Jackson intended to kill the baby or not, the particulars are met for first degree murder. "Anybody in the act of child abuse - even though they did not intentionally intend to kill the child, but the baby dies as a result of the abuse - then they are guilty of abuse in the first degree," says Berry.
As 7News reported, the medical examiner testified that had Jackson really dropped the baby by accident as he claimed, the child would have had to fall at least two stories or have been tossed out of a fast moving car.
Berry says he doesn't believe waiving his client's right to a jury trial hurt his case but he and his client are obviously disappointed with the outcome. "He understands what happened, here," says Berry. "He understands the ramifications of the penalties and the violations of the law."
All that's left now is sentencing. Jackson's attorney says he's asking the judge for a life sentence rather than life without parole. Judge McCall will now do a pre-sentencing investigation on Dominic Jackson's background - a look into his character - to decide the sentence. Sentencing is scheduled for November 29th at 1:30pm.