A Pennsylvania man has been charged with murder after telling police that he had beaten his 4-month-old daughter to death because she was being “fussy.”
George Gazzam, 30, of Mt. Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh, at first told Allegheny County police that the baby had fallen out of her bed, according to local news reports.
However, an autopsy later showed that the baby, Victoria Gazzam, suffered bleeding of the brain, a lacerated heart vessel, a lacerated left kidney, a liver contusion, three fractured ribs, multiple bruises to the back and head and a hemorrhage behind the eyes.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, coroner Christine James told county officials that the injuries, inflicted on Sunday, could not have occurred from the infant falling two feet to a carpeted floor.
When confronted with the autopsy Monday, police said Gazzam changed his story and admitted to punching the child several times because she was “fussy.”
Gazzam, the paper reported, told police that the child “would not stop crying and would not fall asleep again.” He became angry, he said, and began punching the child with a closed fist.
“She stopped breathing and her eyes rolled back in her head,” a criminal complaint in the case quoted Gazzam as saying.
The child’s mother was working at the time and is cooperating with detectives, police said. Gazzam is being held in the county jail, charged with homicide, recklessly endangering another person, and endangering the welfare of a child. He is due in court Friday. No record of a lawyer was immediately available, according to the Associated Press.
Mt. Lebanon police Chief Aaron Lauth told The Almanac, a weekly newspaper covering the area, that his feelings about the child’s death are hard to put into words.
“It’s obviously a very traumatic situation for everyone involved and our hearts go out to the family,” Lauth said.