Father guilty of infant's murder

Broke newborn's skull in seven places


A Northshore father will go to prison for the rest of his life for killing his newborn son.

"A St. Tammany Parish jury found Anthony Dearmas, 27, of New Orleans, guilty Friday (July 19) of first-degree murder in the death of his son, 6-week-old Karter Smith," District Attorney Warren Montgomery said in a news release. "Dearmas faces mandatory life in prison with no possibility of probation, parole, or suspension."

Prosecutors told jurors that Dearmas was caring for his twin infant sons and his three-year-old son when he became enraged.

"In the early morning of May 10, 2017, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies were called to a mobile home in Slidell, where they found the severely injured child. The baby’s mother testified that she had left the 6-week-old twins and her 3-year-old son home with Dearmas while she went to work."

The mother told the court Dearmas called her to say one of the twins, wasn’t breathing.

"The panicked mother then called a relative, who lived with them in the mobile home and was returning home when he got the telephone call. He testified that when he walked in the house, he found Dearmas, sitting on the sofa and staring blankly at the child, who was already turning blue."

When help arrived, the father allegedly attempted to keep them from helping his baby.

"The relative called 9-1-1, but when paramedics arrived, Dearmas angrily tried to prevent them from administering medical treatment to Karter.  A deputy on the scene ultimately grabbed the car seat, carrying the injured child, from the hands of Dearmas so that paramedics could assist."

It was a short time later that the infant died.
"When questioned by police, Dearmas initially stated that he had gone to take a shower and that Karter’s 3-year-old sibling had picked him up and dropped him twice. But Dearmas changed his story multiple times, ultimately admitting that he became frustrated because he could not soothe the screaming child, and struck him twice."

Defense attorneys never said that Dearmas didn't kill Karter, but did argue the crime was manslaughter, not first-degree murder.

They told jurors that Dearmas did not intend to kill the child.

"Prosecutors rebutted those claims, presenting autopsy photos that captured the severity of the child’s injuries, which included seven skull fractures. Prosecutors also showed Dearmas’s videotaped statements to police in which he admitted to striking the child, walking away to calm himself, but then returning to strike the crying child again."

It took the jury about ninety minutes to convict Dearmas by a vote of 11 to 1.

“You don’t get to hit a baby, crush the entire right side of his skull and then say, ‘I didn’t intend to kill him,’” Assistant District Attorney Angad Ghai said during his closing argument.

The defense also sought not guilty by reason of insanity, but were not successful.

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