$4M bond for man accused in baby 'slamming'

Posted at 2:03 PM, Oct 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-19 14:03:34-04

MOUNT HEALTHY, Ohio -- Authorities arrested a 35-year-old man Saturday who they said “slammed” his 3-month-old baby on a floor.

The infant died at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, deputies said.

Mount Healthy Police and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office responded to James Phillips’ home Saturday afternoon, where they found the 3-month-old not breathing, Sheriff Jim Neil and Police Chief Vince Demasi said.

Investigators said Phillips was responsible for the infant’s injuries. Phillips admitted to slamming the infant on her back, deputies said, resulting in severe skull fractures and an inability to breathe unassisted.

"This wasn't just an accidental-type situation. The injuries were so substantial there had to be more involved than just a mishandling of the child," Mt. Healthy police Chief Vince Demasi said.

A neighbor, Teddy Copas, called 911 and, trying to be as gentle as possible with the 3-month-old, attempted CPR until paramedics arrived, detectives said. The child was hospitalized in critical condition Saturday night before her death.

"The first thought that I could think of was start the CPR," Copas told WCPO. "You know try to give her some help until help actually got here... It's sad that I couldn't help a little more."

"[We] gotta protect our children. If our own family can't protect them we as neighbors have to come together for the children," neighbor David Webster said.

Police said the girl's mother had left to go to a store before she was injured.

During his initial court appearance Monday, Phillips' bond was set at $4 million for child endangering and assault charges. Prosecutors said an aggravated murder charge is pending.

Hamilton County Job and Family Services said it doesn't appear that its agents had any previous contact with the family.

Previously, Phillips was on probation in Clermont County on a drug charge.

Investigators said they plan to meet Monday afternoon to discuss the case further. Officers said a 2-year-old and a  5-year-old who live at the home are safe with other family members.

Deputies asked that anyone with information in this case call the Criminal Investigative Section at 513-851-6000 or CrimeStoppers at 513-352-3040.