Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In the News: Man gets 40 to life in baby's murder

By Staff reports (Victorville Daily Press)
Posted Oct. 9, 2015 at 4:34 PM   

VICTORVILLE — A 40-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in state prison for murdering his girlfriend’s 9-month-old baby in Hesperia eight years ago.

Judge Eric M. Nakata sentenced Arthur Lee Holmes for the murder of 9-month-old William Lacey after jurors found Holmes guilty in August of one count of second degree murder and one count of assault on a child causing death.

Deputy District Attorney Kathy DiDonato, who prosecuted the case, said the child died from blunt force head trauma with a skull fracture, bleeding of the brain and retinal hemorrhages.

“The pathologist testified that the injuries to the victim were consistent with injuries seen during car crashes where the victim is not in a safety seat properly,” DiDonato said in a statement released by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office. “These types of injuries are consistent with shaken baby impact.”

William’s grandfather, Charles Hill, read a victim impact statement in court.

“He was such a good baby,” Hill said in an excerpt of the statement provided by the DA. “He was just starting to walk around the coffee table, laughing and having a good time. William and his sister would have such a good time playing peek-a-boo. I guess that’s gone now that he was taken away from us.”

According to previous Daily Press reports, Holmes was arrested Dec. 14, 2007 after authorities responded to a report of an unconscious baby in the 17400 block of Sequoia Avenue in Hesperia. San Bernardino County Sheriff's officials found William with a fractured skull and swollen brain.

William was pronounced dead at Loma Linda University Medical Center, officials said.

Investigators learned from the baby's mother, Kristina Blair, that Holmes and William were left alone together for about 20 to 30 minutes while Blair took a shower. Blair later found William breathing strangely and called 911, Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Hutchins earlier testified.

Authorities said Holmes told multiple stories to investigators, including that he had no idea how Williams got hurt, that a computer fell on the baby's head, and finally that the infant hit his head on the kitchen counter when Holmes attempted to comfort him after the computer fell. Holmes also told investigators he kept the story from Blair because he was scared of losing her, according to Hutchins.

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