Day Two of Murder Trial of 17 Year-Old Baby Death Case - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/10/02

Day Two of Murder Trial of 17 Year-Old Baby Death Case

On Tuesday, prosecutors rested their case against 40 year-old Robert Sharp. Sharp's original statement to police says that he was trying to stop his three month-old son, Matthew, from crying by bouncing him on his knees, when his son stopped breathing.

It happened in the town of Smyer in Hockley County just west of Lubbock. Matthew died later at University Medical Center. At the time, prosecutors say they did not have enough evidence to convict Sharp. But based on what is now known about Shaken Baby Syndrome, Matthew's body was exhumed in January and medical examiners performed another autopsy.

Expert testimony Tuesday from two forensic pathologists testified about what the second autopsy revealed about Sharp's story. Prosecutors say that Sharp's statements are not consistent with the baby's injuries. Meanwhile, Sharp's defense attorney, Jack Stoffregen, hoped to plant the seed of reasonable doubt in the 12 jurors minds.

Forensic pathologists testified baby Matthew's injuries were a result of extreme force. Two medical examiners who performed the second autopsy, and a child abuse investigator both agreed the death of the baby was intentional, and not accidental. Sharp originally confessed to bouncing the baby gently on his lap to calm the baby down.

Later, the jury would hear testimony from a Dumas man who shared a jail cell with Sharp. That witness said Sharp told him two different stories how the infant died. Sharp first told the witness he threw the baby and the baby accidentally hit the wall. Then, the witness said Sharp changed his story saying he was bouncing the baby on his knees when Matthew stopped breathing.

Then, a statement taken by the Lubbock homicide division could tell it all. A sworn affidavit from Sharp was presented to the court. Sharp confessed he was ignorant about children and did not know how to deal with them. That he was upset with Matthew because he wouldn't quit crying. Sharp also admitted his actions killed his son, but he did not mean to do it.

Sharp will take the stand in his defense first thing Wednesday morning.

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