A 28-year-old James City County man has entered an Alford plea in connection with the death of his 3-month-old daughter last year.
Bryan Timothy Arruda entered an Alford plea on a charge of murder during an appearance Monday in the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court, according to online records.
In an Alford plea, a defendant maintains their innocence but admits prosecutors have enough evidence to prove they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
While Arruda was convicted on the murder charge, prosecutors dropped a felony child abuse charge. The charge was nolle prossed, meaning prosecutors can bring the charge back if more evidence comes to light.
Arruda is scheduled to return to court at 10 a.m. June 18 for sentencing.
According to a criminal complaint filed in open court, Arruda was home alone with his daughter, Emery Alaine Arruda, on April 28, 2017, when she was injured.
Emergency responders were called to the home in the 7600 block of Crestview Drive at 3:21 p.m., James City County Police said.
When officers arrived, Arruda told them that his daughter had been unsecured in a bouncy chair on top of a coffee table and fell from the table. He told police he had gone to the bathroom and came out to find her crying, a criminal complaint states.
Arruda said he picked up the baby and attempted to feed her, but she did not eat and became unresponsive.
The 3-month-old was taken to VCU Medical Center in Richmond, where hospital staff discovered the baby had multiple skull fractures and blood clots were forming in her skull, documents state.
The baby died the following day.
Child abuse physician Robin Foster said she found evidence of multiple blunt force trauma injuries, indicating child abuse. She added that the injuries were not consistent with the fall Arruda described, the complaint states.
Foster added the fractures on the skull were consistent with a crushed skull, meaning the fractures extended across the forehead and into the orbital rim.
On April 29, the day the baby died, Arruda told police again that his daughter had fallen from the bouncy chair, but added he had consumed up to six beers the day she was injured.
A Department of Forensic Science report dated June 16 shows Arruda’s blood tested positive for ethanol and cocaine/benzoylecgonine.
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