Finley has been convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon - family violence and injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. He will proceed to the jury for punishment.
Jurors in the 15th state District Court will decide Thursday whether a Sherman man is guilty of shaking his infant daughter so severely that she suffered bleeding on her brain along with injuries to her eyes and multiple broken ribs back in January of 2018.
The child survived but has been left with number of serious deficits.
Damon DeShawn Finley, 26, pleaded not guilty to charges that include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon serious bodily injury, injury to a child and attempt to commit capital murder.
Finley's 2-month-old infant was taken to Dallas' Children's Hospital after her mother took her to Wilson N. Jones Medical Center because the child appeared to be having seizures. The mother reported the child had been fussy for a few days and had not been eating the way she once had. CT scans taken at WNJ showed hospital staff the infant had serious injuries including bleeding on her brain in two places and she was transferred to the Dallas hospital. Once the child was there, Dr. Suzanne Dakil was notified of the suspicions that the child had been abused.
In court Wednesday, Dakil testified the injuries she saw on the infant were not the kinds of things that could happen to a baby just by being burped or from an accidental fall on the floor. She said the child not only suffered from multiple broken ribs, one broken in more than one place, but also suffered from bilateral retina hemorrhages. Dakil said they were the type of injuries doctors most often associate with child abuse.
First Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Kerye Ashmore asked Dakil what the mother had reported about the child's injuries and Dakil said the mother said the infant had been left at home with her father while the mother worked. Dakil said she thought it likely that the second spot on the child's brain that was bleeding, located at the back of the skull, was probably from an injury that occurred on the day the child was taken to the hospital.
Dakil, an expert in treating abused children, said the most likely abuse to cause the child's injuries was a violent shaking and squeezing.
In his closing arguments in the case, Ashmore reminded jurors Finley blurted out to police that he “didn't violently shake” the baby even though they had not mentioned that as a way the child might have been injured. Later on in the interview, Ashmore said, Finley had told police he probably shook the baby a couple of times. Finley said he had put the family's 2-year-old down for a nap and he didn't want the baby to keep crying.
Jeromie Oney, who is representing Finley in the case, said the police focused on his client as the suspect in the case to the exclusion of other people who were also alone with the child. He questioned whether some of the injuries that were found on the infant could have happened at birth.
While Dakil said that “birth is traumatic,” she added the hemorrhages found on the Finley infant's brain would have looked different had they been present since birth. She said babies do sometimes suffer broken ribs during birth but it is usually a very large baby and there are other injuries present.
Jurors began deliberating Finley's fate Wednesday afternoon.
Jerrie Whiteley is the Criminal Justice Editor for the Herald Democrat. She can be reached at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com.