A 22-year-old man pleaded not guilty today to charges that he critically injured his 2-month-old son at a Lowell home on Saturday.
Christopher Berry was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail at his arraignment in Lowell District Court.
He was home alone with the child when he called 911 to report that his child was “limp and unresponsive,” said Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Katharine Folger.
She said the child would never again be able to breathe on his own. Berry allegedly admitted that he had been stressed and had shaken the boy for 30 seconds.
Berry is an Afghan war veteran. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was being treated for anxiety, his defense lawyer said.
Folger said the charges could be upgraded if the child, who suffered extensive subdural bleeding, does not survive.
In a police report filed in court, a Lowell detective said that “as of this writing,” the baby “is not expected to survive.”
In the report, the detective said Berry offered varying accounts of what happened. Berry initially said he did not know what had happened to the baby. Berry said the baby had “rolled off” the couch the previous week. Then he said he had dropped the baby four feet from his arms when the baby had arched his back.
Finally, according to the report, Berry said he “sometimes gets stressed with the baby and today this frustration caused him to hold the baby with his two hands shaking him for about thirty seconds.”
“Christoper told us that after he did this, the baby went limp and unresponsive, not regaining consciousness,” the report said.
Folger said there were five cases pending against Berry, including two domestic incidents involving the baby’s mother.