A Miami judge acquitted a woman accused of beating and fracturing the skull of her 10-month-old daughter, shocking the courtroom.
According to the Miami Herald, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mark Blumstein heard evidence this month in the trial of April Fox, who was charged with aggravated child abuse. She was arrested after she took the child, Sophia to a hospital with a number of injuries.
Doctors found that the girl had incurred a fracture to the skull, along with swelling in the brain. X-rays revealed that she had also suffered from past fractures in her arms and legs.
Prosecutors believed that Fox had abused her daughter over the weeks leading up to Sophia’s admission to the emergency room. Shortly after, Florida child welfare authorities considered Fox an endangerment to her children, and stripped the mother of the rights to her two minor children.
But Fox’s defense lawyer has argued that it was Sophia’s ongoing health issues with brittle bones and other genetic disorders that were to blame for her injuries, and not Fox’s alleged abuse. The case was deemed a mistrial after jurors could not come to a conclusion.
However, at the shock of prosecutors and Fox herself, instead of allowing a second trial, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Blumstein decided to acquit the the 34-year-old mother.
“I’m really trying to get some picture of what happened that day,” Blumstein said late last week, according to audio of the trial. “I’m not surprised about what the jury came to, and someone beyond any human in the court will have to answer those questions. But in light of what I heard, and after hearing the presentation from the state, I don’t think it’s going to change with any retrial of this case.”
The Herald reports that the State Attorney’s Office cannot appeal the judge’s acquittal, and that the mother still won’t get her children back.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. She won the trial but lost the war,” defense lawyer Kellie Peterson told the Herald.
Sophia has since been adopted, and despite ongoing brain damage, is reported to be walking and talking.