Byron Allen Ellison of Gulfport, MS, was found guilty of the charge of Capital Murder by a Harrison County Jury late Thursday evening. The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before returning the verdict.
Based on the Capital Murder statute, Circuit Court Judge Chris Schmidt sentenced the Defendant to Life in prison.
The investigation began on October 15, 2018, when first responders responded to a residence on Calcutta Drive, in Gulfport for an unresponsive 2-month-old baby. Then, the baby was transported to Garden Park Hospital by American Medical Response (AMR).
Due to the significant injuries, the baby was transported to Oschner Medical Center in New Orleans, LA where the child died on October 18, 2018, with what doctors described as a devastating, catastrophic neurological injury.
A subsequent autopsy determined that the baby died from blunt force trauma to the back of the head. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.
As part of the investigation, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office investigators were called to Garden Park Hospital and made contact with the parents of the 2-month-old baby.
“The baby’s mother stated that the baby woke up at approximately 3:30 a.m. when the baby was fed and went back to sleep. The baby woke up again at approximately 6:30 a.m., when she changed the baby. She stated that she left the baby in the care of the Defendant, the baby’s father, and went to the kitchen to make the baby a bottle. She stated that a couple of minute later, the Defendant came to the kitchen with the baby, who was limp. They called 911 and she performed CPR on the baby until first responders arrived,” stated Assistant District Attorney Patti Simpson, who prosecuted the case with Billy Stage.
Harrison County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Technicians went to the crime scene and found evidence that the mother changed the baby and was preparing a bottle in the kitchen.
In his statement to Investigators which was played for the jury, the Defendant recounted the same sequence of events but provided different explanations for the baby’s injuries.
The Defendant stated that he was he was bouncing the baby on his knee, then that the baby hit his collarbone, then that the baby fell off of the bed whereas Ellison expressed later that he was sleep-deprived and ultimately that he was afraid to tell the mother what he did.
“The prosecution of this case could not have happened without the tireless work of the Investigators and Crime Scene Technicians of the Harrison County’s Sheriff Department. That, coupled with the medical professionals who testified, helped to show the jury what happened and who was responsible. I am proud of how they all worked together,” stated District Attorney W. Crosby Parker. “In the end, this case was tragic and involved the loss of life of a two-month old child. We pray that that this conviction assists in healing process.”