Still no charges in baby’s death

LOWELL — It has been nearly three months since 9-week-old William Berry suffered a “catastrophic” brain injury and was taken off life support, yet no one has been charged in his death.

In the days before he died on May 17, his 22-year-old father, Christopher Berry, was charged with assault and battery on a child causing substantial injury after police say he violently shook his son for 30 seconds in a moment of frustration.

No further charges have been brought against Berry.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is remaining mum about the investigation and why no one has been charged with the baby’s death.

It is part of an “ongoing investigation, so we would not be able to comment on it,” said DA’s spokesperson MaryBeth Long.

A probable-cause hearing scheduled for last Monday was rescheduled to Aug. 27. Berry remains held on $500,000 cash bail.

Berry’s attorney, Elliott Savitz, said his client has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his service with the Army National Guard in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011.

Lowell police were called to the 215 Mammoth Road home Berry shares with his girlfriend and their newborn son on May 11 for a report of a child in distress. Berry allegedly told police that he went to wake his son, but found him “limp and unresponsive,” prosecutor Katharine Folger said at Berry’s arraignment. The baby’s eyes were closed, and his nose was bleeding.

The child was initially taken to Lowell General Hospital, then transferred to Tufts Floating Hospital for Children with extensive trauma to the brain.

Berry, who was alone with the child at the time, initially told police the baby rolled off the couch, then he said he dropped the child on his head.

Police described Berry as appearing “emotionally detached” as he talked about the baby, at times appearing angry with the baby for spitting up and defecating.

Berry then told police he was home with the baby when he became “stressed out” and frustrated, Folger said.

Berry allegedly admitted to police he shook the baby for 30 seconds, after which his son went limp and unresponsive, Folger said. Doctors determined the baby suffered subdural hemorrhaging, subarachnoid hemorrhaging, brain edema/swelling and a skull fracture.

Prosecutors have argued that Berry’s behavior was escalating since 2011.

On Aug. 25, 2011, Berry was arrested by Lowell police and charged with assaulting his girlfriend by forcing her out of a chair and violently shoving her out the door of their apartment. At that time, the girlfriend sought a restraining order.

Three days later, on Aug. 28, Berry was charged with animal cruelty after he allegedly used bird seed to lure a flock of pigeons into a parking lot in Billerica and then drove his car through the flock, killing six birds.

Then in late October 2011, Berry was charged with breaking into VIP Auto Parts in Billerica, where he worked, and stealing $1,500 from the safe. He was also charged with stealing a gaming system in Tewksbury on Oct. 27, 2011.

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DA: Infant dies in Lowell shaken-baby case

Sun Staff Report

LOWELL — A nine-week old baby boy allegedly shaken into unconsciousness by his father last weekend has died, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office has confirmed.

The child, William Berry, was pronounced dead at Tufts Floating Hospital for Children, DA Marian Ryan said in a press release.

Christopher Berry, 22, of Lowell, was arraigned Monday, in Lowell District Court on charges of assault and battery on a child causing substantial bodily injury, where Judge Thomas Brennan ordered him held on $500,000 cash bail with conditions to have no contact with the victim’s family. In addition, the defendant’s bail on his pending cases was revoked.

He is due back in court June 6 for a probable-cause hearing.

An autopsy was conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and additional charges against the defendant are possible, “depending on the determination of cause and manner of death by the Chief Medical Examiner. The cause and manner of death are pending and not expected for several months,” Ryan stated.

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