April 28, 2017
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HI 52 / LO 42

Father charged with reckless homicide in son’s death

Baby suffered ‘catastrophic injury’ according to records


8
BY DANIEL GAITAN
dgaitan@kenoshanews.com


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A 34-year-old Kenosha man was charged with second degree reckless homicide Thursday for the death of his 2-month-old son.

Robert J. Stynes is accused of causing catastrophic injury to the infant who was found dead on April 11 at their home in the 4700 block of Seventh Avenue. Stynes is being held on a $25,000 cash bond.

“The amount of force needed to cause this catastrophic injury in comparison to the really chronic lies the defendant has offered as explanation lead us to credibly say this is reckless conduct,” said District Attorney Mike Graveley. “It’s reckless in both the amount of force needed and it’s reckless in terms of not providing accurate and timely information.”

Stynes called police after the infant’s death on April 11. However, according to the criminal complaint, when police arrived to investigate the situation Stynes told them inconsistent statements and lies about his work schedule the previous day.

Graveley said Stynes first told police he put the baby to sleep in a bassinet that morning, but he had turned over and had vomited, and was now unconsious. But that did not match evidence at the scene. Stynes was the only adult in the home when the baby died.

Additionally, when confronted with the autopsy evidence of the infant’s extensive injuries, Stynes told police the baby may have been injured by a fall, a statement at odds with his previous accounts.

The child sustained blunt force trauma to the head, casing a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a skull fracture and softening the brain, according to information presented in court. Such injuries require “very significant force,” according to the medical examiner quoted in the criminal complaint.

Death was likely instant, and if the child had survived he would “not behave as a normal child.”

Neighbors told investigators they heard two loud noises from Stynes’ residence shortly before law enforcement arrived. Police found Stynes crying and attempting to do chest compressions on him. The baby was pronounced dead at a local hospital that evening.

Stynes’ defense attorney Terry Rose said there is no evidence that shows Stynes caused the death.

“Where is the evidence in this complaint, or the criticism in this complaint, or facts in this complaint that would show that the defendant did anything to this child?” Rose said. “(Graveley) has tried through smoke and mirrors, I think, to suggest that because the child is dead and the father is present that he’s at fault and is criminally involved. That’s not the law.”

Stynes wept silently in court Monday. He had requested to attend the infant’s funeral, but Commissioner David Berman denied his request. The mother of the child does not want him there.

Stynes’ parents said he is innocent and “not a violent person.”

“He’s a good dad,” said his mother Kristine Brittich, who added that any inconsistencies in his statements were because he was nervous and heartbroken. “Why would he change and not be a good dad?”

A preliminary hearing is set for April 28.

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