A man initially charged in the death of his infant son appeared in court on Thursday and learned that some of his charges have been dismissed.
One month after the 8-week-old baby died, charges of murder and felonious assault against 19-year-old Xavier Richardson have been dismissed.
County prosecutors called this one of the worst cases of abuse they have ever seen.
The baby was left in the care of Richardson in March. He told investigators that he was asleep, and then he noticed that the baby was gasping for air.
Prosecutors said there were injuries found on the baby, including what they called “absolutely horrifying bite marks.”
Prosecutor Jeff Limbian said they’re still waiting for autopsy results, which could take a few months. He said he is curious as to why the autopsy has taken so long.
“When you have someone charged with an offense like this, the system needs to kick into a higher speed or an overdrive to make sure that things are done timely,” he said.
Limbian said he didn’t want to risk leaving the murder charge in place without a report from the coroner.
Coroner Dr. David Kennedy said he was surprised by Limbian’s decision, adding that it has only been a few weeks since an autopsy was performed. He said reviews and tests often take at least a month and a half, and in this particular case, bite marks on the victim were sent to a forensic dentist.
That examination alone will take about six weeks.
Richardson is still charged with child endangering. That charge is being sent to a Mahoning County grand jury.
For now, Richardson remains jailed on a $100,000 bond while prosecutors wait for their report.
Prosecutors said when the coroner’s information is ready, they can re-file murder charges.