California man charged with child's decade-delayed death

AP News
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Posted: Nov 24, 2015 9:28 PM

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California jail inmate who abused a baby girl was charged with murder Tuesday over her death a decade later from "shaken baby syndrome."

Christopher Edward Byrd, 39, already had served time after pleading guilty to child abuse. But the Jan. 17 death of Savannah Quake left him open to new charges of murder and child assault causing death, City News Service reported.

He could face 25 years to life if convicted.

Prosecutors say Byrd violently shook 11-month-old Savannah in January 2005 at the home he shared with her mother in La Habra. The mother had left the child in his care for several hours.

The baby was hospitalized, placed on a ventilator and never regained consciousness, said Troy Pino, an Orange County senior deputy district attorney. She lingered until Jan. 17, when she died from her brain injuries, Pino said.

In 2006, Byrd was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to abusing the child and possessing methamphetamine.

Byrd currently is serving a nearly nine-year sentence in Orange County after pleading guilty in 2013 to charges in connection with a car chop-shop operation.

The girl's mother, Nicole Morefield, received a two-year sentence after pleading guilty to child abuse and endangerment in 2006.