KELSO, Wash. - A man charged in the murder of his girlfriend's 1-month-old son made his first court appearance Monday.
Christopher Everette, 20, has admitted he shook the baby, but according to court records, his story changed, because at first he denied he had done so.
Police say Everette didn't admit to shaking the baby until he found out just how seriously the baby was hurt. He learned the baby had broken ribs, bruising on his chest and that the child might be brain dead.
Everette appeared on a court television monitor from jail. He was caring for his girlfriend's baby, James Childers, Friday morning at their Kelso home where the couple lived with the child.
Briana Childers was not home at the time but, according to court documents, Everette told police he found the infant not breathing face down in his crib and shook him for one to two minutes, trying to wake him. After shaking him, he called 911 and performed CPR. It was about noon when the 911 call was made.
But in the court documents, doctors said there was no way it was an accident.
Neighbors said the couple kept to themselves but didn't suspect any problems until Friday when emergency crews got to the home.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, I hope it's all right,' and I started crying because it was just such a newborn-looking baby. It was like, 'Oh my God,'" said Carrie Ann Rigdon, who lives near the couple.
Childers was in court. She held flowers and was consoled by other family members and friends.
A friend of hers and Everette's told KATU News she holds Everette responsible for her baby's death.
"She believes Chris did it," said Justice Mendez. "But she wasn't home when it happened. She just got a phone call that the baby stopped breathing. But I don't know why she thinks he would do that. He wouldn't."
In court, the prosecutor noted Everette was a suspect in another child abuse investigation in December of last year. In that case, a child suffered a broken leg. But the defense argued criminal charges were never pursued in that case.
The baby was a 1-month-old. The previous caption to this story had the incorrect age.