In Riverside County Superior Court, Aaron Leroy Montgomery was convicted for the death of for the 2005 death of his 6 week-old son, Jordan Montgomery. Jurors heard two days of testimony and deliberated for half a day before reaching their verdict. News stories report that in October 2005, police were called to a home on North Fork Circle in Menifee. Jordan was not breathing. He was emergently taken to Loma Linda Medical Center in San Bernardino County where he died. The autopsy revealed the infant died from Shaken Baby Syndrome. There was also evidence of rib fractures at different stages of healing indicative of multiple episodes of abuse. Mr. Montgomery faces up to life in prison.
Non-accidental head trauma, including Shaken Baby Syndrome, is the number one cause of death for children in child abuse cases. The abusive action of rapidly shaking an infant or child causes the sudden forward, backward and sideway motion of the head. During the shaking action the brain is injured from hitting against the inside of the bony skull. This violent action causes inflammation, bleeding, separation of vessels and nerve fibers in the soft brain tissue on all sides of the brain. The brain of an infant or child is very soft because it has more water content and it is easier to injure than an adult brain. Therefore, less energy is required to cause lethal injury to an infant or child’s brain. Significant injury may occur with just several seconds of shaking. Even sudden impact with soft objects like cushions, bedding, and mattresses may be injurious. If shaking occurs alone, there will be minimal outward signs of trauma, if any. But if blunt trauma occurs during shaking, there will be more evidence of external injury. For example, if a caregiver throws or forcefully places an infant on a surface after shaking the baby for a few seconds, there may be evidence of blunt trauma from sudden deceleration and impact of the head against a surface. In SBS, the eyes may get injured by the sudden increase in pressure and motion around the soft tissues that make up the delicate structure of the eyes. After the baby is shaken the brain and the eyes bleed inside the confined spaces they are contained in. This bleeding causes high pressure to build within the head and eyes. The damage caused by shaking the head, brain and eye structures and the increasing high pressure that follows may cause permanent injury or death for the infant or child.