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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
Midgett v. State
Citation:292 Ark. 278, 729 S.W.2d 410.
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The defendant had a son, Ronnie Midgett, Jr., who was eight years old. The evidence showed that Ronnie Jr. had been abused by brutal beating over a substantial period of time. Ronnie Jr. would not say how he had obtained the bruises or why he was so lethargic at school except to blame it all on a rough playing little brother. On a Wednesday, the child died. The other children in the house were not being physically abused by the defendant.
Ronnie Jr.’s sister, Sherry, aged ten, testified that on the Saturday preceding Ronnie Jr.’s death, their father was drinking whiskey and beating on Ronnie Jr. She testified that the defendant would “bundle up his fist” and hit Ronnie Jr. in the stomach and in the back. She said the bruises on Ronnie Jr.’s body noticed over the preceding six months had been caused by the defendant.
On the Wednesday that Ronnie Jr. died, the defendant appeared at a hospital carrying the body. He told hospital personnel something was wrong with the child. An autopsy was performed, and it showed Ronnie Jr. was a very poorly nourished and underdeveloped for an eight-year-old. There were recently caused bruises on the lips, center of the chest plate, and forehead as well as on the back part of the lateral chest wall, the soft tissue near the spine, and the buttocks. There was discoloration of the abdominal wall and prominent bruising on the palms of the hands. Older bruises were found on the right temple, under the chin, and on the left mandible. Recent as well as older, healed, rib fractures were found. The conclusion of the medical examiner was that Ronnie Jr. died as the result of intra-abdominal hemorrhage caused by a blunt force trauma consistent with having been delivered by a human fist.
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