MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 30 year-old Minneapolis man has been charged with second-degree manslaughter of his infant daughter.
According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 3, Minneapolis Police officers were dispatched to an apartment on the 3400 block of Central Ave NE in Minneapolis. They had received a report that a nine-week old infant was not breathing.
When they arrived, they were met by defendant Winston Hicks, the infant’s father. Though officers and paramedics attempted life-saving measures as soon as they arrived, she was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
The officers noted the apartment was dirty and unkempt; garbage, dirty dishes, dirty diapers, cigarettes, and clothing covered nearly every surface of the home.
Investigators then spoke with the infant’s mother. She was at home the night before with Hicks and another friend. She admitted they were drinking and smoking marijuana. Around 1:30 a.m., her baby woke up crying and she made her a bottle, changed her diaper, and put the infant back to sleep in a bouncer bassinet in the master bedroom. She then slept on the couch in the living room while Hicks slept in the bedroom with the baby.
According to documents, she woke around 8:30 the next morning to the sound of Hicks throwing up in the bathroom. When she went to check on her child, she saw a large, quilt-like blanket was balled up over her baby’s face. When she removed it, the baby’s mouth was foaming and she was not breathing. Her friend then called 9-1-1.
The defendant and the child’s mother claimed the nine-week old must have pulled the blanket down from the top of the nightstand during the night, causing her to suffocate.
However when officers reviewed the scene, they noticed the nightstand was cluttered with items and a glass of water. None of the objects were disturbed as one would expect if the blanket was pulled across the nightstand.
Officials then spoke with the friend who had been at Hicks’ home that night. The friend claimed the three of them had stayed up late drinking and using cocaine; Hicks, he said, was very intoxicated. He said Hicks had helped feed the baby around 1:45 a.m.
According to the friend, once police and paramedics arrived, he went outside the apartment with Hicks. Hicks told him he was drunk and he killed his baby because he put a blanket over the baby’s face because she was crying so much. Hicks also said he pushed clothes from the dresser onto the baby.
Later, a medical examiner determined the cause of death was asphyxia due to external obstruction of the airways.
If convicted, Hicks could serve up to 10 years in prison.