A jury trial has been set for a Seneca man accused of killing his girlfriend's 22-month-old child last summer.
Zachary Rolland, 20, is expected to go to trial March 12-13. Rolland, is charged with second-degree murder in the June 28 death of 22-month-old Bradley Beck. The charge carries a penalty of up to 30 years to life in prison. Judge Timothy Perigo will preside over the trial, which will be held in the Newton County Division I courtroom.
Deputies responded to 2394 Holly Road in Seneca in reference to an infant who wasn't breathing, Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said.
"Paramedics got there, the child wasn't breathing," Copeland told the Daily News last summer. "They tried lifesaving efforts. The baby was transported to [a Joplin hospital] and it was pronounced dead on arrival."
An autopsy revealed the child had a 4- by 4-inch bleeding beneath his scalp and above the skull, Det. Mike Barnett wrote in a probable cause affidavit. Dr. Keith Norton, a forensic pathologist with Southwest Forensics, said this would have had to have come from a severe fall or some sort of injury to head.
"It was also discovered [the child] had numerous injuries on his body, which includes bruises on his face, back and legs," the report states.
"The child's mother's boyfriend had the child in the shower with him," Copeland said. "He had been crying and everybody else heard the child quit crying. He gave a statement to detectives that he had struck the child, the child slipped out of his hands and fell and hit his head. That is the statement that he gave."
A 3-year-old sibling was placed into protective custody while a 15-year-old male who was not a relative was placed with another relative.