A 19-year-old mother accused of shaking her baby was told by a superior court judge in Waterbury Friday that the charges against her are serious and that she needs to get an attorney.
Alexandra Valentine, of 933 Rubber Ave., Naugatuck, was told she doesn’t qualify for a public defender and that she has until Dec. 19 to hire an attorney. On that date, she will appear for a third time at Waterbury Superior Court, where her case has been moved to Part A. That is where the most serious cases are heard. Valentine, who is free after posting a $50,000 bond, declined to comment when asked by Naugatuck Patch outside the courtroom.
Meanwhile, her 4-month-old son was released that same day from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center into the custody of his father. Little was known about his condition other than that family members posted on Naugatuck Patch's Facebook page that the baby is doing OK.
The following information about the case, including Valentine’s statement to police, comes from an arrest warrant affidavit on file at the clerk’s office at Waterbury Superior Court (note: some of the details are graphic):
Police responded to a 911 call at 933 Rubber Ave., apartment 8H, for a an infant with difficulty breathing on Nov. 1. CPR was administered and the baby was transported to Waterbury Hospital. The baby was later air lifted by Life Star to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, where police were told, “the injuries were suspicious for inflicted injury due to abuse,” the affidavit states.
Dr. Nina Livingston at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center explained to police that the baby had sustained a head injury which, through both a brain MRI and CT scan, revealed small amounts of blood that have been collecting between the brain and the skull, which could have been up to three weeks old at the time of the scans, the affidavit states.
“It was also explained that (the baby) suffered two fractures to his left ankle at the growth plate,” the affidavit states. “(The baby) also had hemorrhages in both eyes. Dr. Livingston stated (the baby’s) head injuries were consistent with being shaken.”
Police interviewed Valentine and her live-in boyfriend on Nov. 2 at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. At the time, both stated they did not know what happened that could have caused the injuries, the affidavit states.
Police said they later took a witness statement from someone who said she had “received a text message from Valentine stating that she felt she may have hurt her son,” the affidavit states.
Police applied for a search warrant and secured Valentine’s cell phone. They later set up an interview with Valentine on Nov. 7 at the Naugatuck Police Department.
Valentine stated the following in a written statement, according to the affidavit:
“About one week before (the baby) went to the hospital, I was home alone with (him). …I just finished feeding (the baby) around 8 a.m. and he was crying. I was feeding (the baby) in the living room, holding him on my lap when he wouldn’t stop crying. I was frustrated and I picked up (the baby) with both my hands just under his ribs and I squeezed him a little and I yelled at him to stop while I shook him. I realized after what I did and I felt bad so I held him and I babied him the rest of the day until I had to go to work. I regretted it after. (The baby) just looked at me when I did it; he didn’t cry or do anything. A few days later, (the baby) had thrown up twice real bad in one day, and after that, I noticed a change in the way he acted. He was more tired and he whined more than cried. Everything else seemed normal until the day he came to the hospital.
“As far as the fractures to the ankle, I’m not sure but it could have happened when I was trying to get his leg into his onsie. Some of them are tight fitting.”
Portions of the interview with Valentine were video recorded and she demonstrated how she shook the baby, the affidavit states.
Valentine has been charged with first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a child. The most serious charge, first-degree assault, is a Class B felony that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison if the victim is under 10 years old. Read the full statute here.