SC teen mom charged in baby's death felt he was 'possessed,' attorney says
January 14, 2011 at 2:13 PM EST - Updated June 15 at 5:40 PM
DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) – Bond was denied Friday for a South Carolina mother charged in the death of her baby son.
Meanwhile, an attorney said the mother of the baby, Amber Bracci, hit the baby because she thought the young boy was "possessed."
Bracci, 19, and her boyfriend John Weaver, 20, both face homicide by child abuse charges in the death of 16-month-old Rowan Bracci. Weaver received a $50,000 bond Friday, while Bracci's bond was denied. She will be allowed to ask for bond again in six months.
The couple awaited on bond hearing this week, after a judge delayed her decision on whether to grant bond Wednesday. During the hearing, Weaver's attorney said Amber Bracci shared this excuse for striking the child. Now the accused couple has started pointing fingers at each other.
"She has made a statement that she struck the baby because she felt the baby was possessed," said Weaver's attorney, Andy Savage.
A few days after Rowan Bracci died she said Weaver was to blame for the child's death. The coroner says the boy died of head trauma early last month.
According to investigators, Bracci admitted to hitting the child in the head a few days before he was taken to a hospital. Bracci's lawyer asked for bond and a GPS monitoring system during Wednesday court appearance.
Weaver's lawyer wants him to be released on a personal recognizance bond, but so far the judge has not said if he will be released.
Weaver was jailed Monday afternoon after surrendering to police around 2 pm. Weaver is being represented by high profile defense attorney Andy Savage.
Weaver did not answer any of my questions on his way into the jail Monday. Last Thursday, Weaver was indicted on a charge of homicide by child abuse in the death of his girlfriend's son, 16-month-old Rowan Bracci.
Also under indictment on the same charge is the toddler's mother, 19-year-old Amber Lynn Bracci of Ridgeville. Bracci has been in jail since her arrest earlier in January.
The coroner's office says an autopsy showed Rowan Bracci died of a closed head injury at the hands of another person or persons.
The solicitor's office says Weaver will mostly likely have a bond hearing Wednesday afternoon. Bracci was denied bond at her first hearing.
Bracci told deputies she called EMS after she saw her son's eyes rolling into the back of his head. Police say she admitted hitting her son in the head days before he was taken to the hospital.
Bracci, 19, of Ridgeville was arrested and charged Jan 12 in the death of her child, Rowan.
The Dorchester County Sheriff's department has been investigating the death of Rowan Bracci since Jan. 9. The Sheriff's Office held a press conference in Summerville Jan. 13 to announce the charges.
Earlier this month, before Amber Bracci was arrested on homicide by child abuse charges, she came to a Charleston TV station to tell her story.
"I went in there and picked my son up out of bed at 10:30 in the morning and he was limp," Bracci said while on WCSC-TV in Charleston. "His eyes were closed and he was not responsive."Bracci then called EMS and two days later, her son Rowan died at MUSC.
His retinas were detached with severe hemorrhaging behind the eyes. Doctors couldn't count the amount of vessels. The doctor also said there had been signs of abuse days prior to this incident.
"I loved my son with all my heart," Bracci said. "I may not have been a perfect mother. There are things that I regret."
The Dorchester County Coroner's Office said Thursday that the baby died as a result of homicide after sustaining a closed head injury at the hands of another person or persons. Preliminary autopsy results were released Thursday morning.
According to Major John Garrison with the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, EMS took the 15-month-old Rowan Bracci to North Trident Hospital. After evaluating the Bracci, he was transferred to MUSC and listed in critical condition.The child's condition was determined to have resulted from trauma to the head. Bracci died Saturday at MUSC. An autopsy was performed and it was revealed that the child died as a direct result of head trauma.
The Coroner's Office said Thursday that preliminary autopsy results show that the infant died from a closed head injury. The head injury caused multiple subgaleal contusions of the scalp, bilateral subdural hemorrhages, a thin-layerd subarachnoid hemorrhage, brain swelling and bilateral optic nerve sheath hemorrhage, the coroner said.
The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, the Coroner's Office, Charleston Police and MUSC are also involved in the investigation. Currently, no arrests have been made.
Bracci is being held in the Dorchester County Detention Center pending a bond hearing Friday morning.