A Livingston County jury convicted a Brighton father Tuesday of harming his then-11-week-old daughter.
The 12-member jury deliberated for more than 10 hours before returning its verdict against Joshua Quincy Burns, finding him guilty as charged of second-degree child abuse. Sentencing is set for March 19 before Judge Miriam Cavanaugh in Howell.
Burns testified that he woke up around 7 a.m. March 15 and gave his daughter, Naomi Burns, a bottle around 10:15 a.m. His wife was at a hair appointment. He said his cellphone rang as he was burping Naomi, now 1, who lay across his lap with her head in one hand.
Burns said he moved Naomi to his left hand while answering the phone with his right hand. When he put the cellphone down, he “felt Naomi fall off my knee.”
“I just reacted fast. I moved my right hand across the table to stop her” from falling onto the table, he testified.
Burns said he caught Naomi “by the face” with his right hand. He did not see her head hit the table or the floor. He said he pulled his daughter up to his chest and comforted the infant.
On cross-examination, the assistant prosecutor questioned how Burns could remember details of what happened when he testified at an earlier neglect/abuse trial that he did not remember details.
Burns said he noticed a scratch on his daughter’s face near the temple. He said his wife returned home and he told her what happened. The couple said Naomi appeared normal the remainder of the evening.
However, the next day, she began vomiting, which lasted throughout the weekend and resulted in multiple trips to the hospital. Her medical issues included hemorrhages, evidence of rebleeding, dehydration, acute viral illness and thrombocytosis. The latter issue causes the body to produce too many platelets, which play an important role in blood clotting.
The director of the child protection team at the University of Michigan Medical Center’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital testified that Burns’ daughter had retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes, which she believed is an indicator of child abuse, as well as bruising.
However, the director of Detroit’s St. John Hospital and Medical Center’s child-protection team testified that Burns’ description of what happened is a “description of accidental force.” He said he did not see how it “leads to a description of abuse.”