Father accused of murder in infant son’s death gets new lawyer


A 25-year-old Texarkana, Texas, father facing a murder charge in the December 2018 death of his 2-month-old son has been appointed a new lawyer.

Court records show that 202nd District Judge John Tidwell appointed Texarkana defense attorney Jeff Harrelson to represent Shomari Kevorkian Center Sr. on May 22. Two days prior, Center appeared for arraignment with a member of the Bowie County Public Defenders Office.

A reason for the change in representation is not specified in Tidwell’s order. Appointments are usually made when there is a conflict for public defenders because the office already represents someone else involved in the case. Center is the only person charged in connection with the death of his son, Shomari Center Jr.

At a hearing Monday before Tidwell, Harrelson told the court he had just received some documents in the case from the state. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said her office was in the process of copying videos and crime scene photographs and expected to share those with the defense this week.

Center was charged with murder after an autopsy report showed the baby died of blunt force injuries. Center was allegedly the only adult alone with the boy when he was injured.

Texarkana, Texas, police responded Dec. 5 to the 1000 block of College Drive in response to a 911 call regarding a baby not breathing, according to earlier press statements from police. Center had allegedly carried the child from his residence in the 2800 block of Texas Blvd. looking for help.

The baby was initially treated at a hospital in Texarkana but was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. The infant died there Dec. 9, 2018.

An autopsy report showed the baby had rib fractures in various stages of healing, indicating abuse occurred on more than one occasion.

Bail on the murder charge is set at $1 million. Center is being held in the Bowie County jail.

Tidwell scheduled the case for a pretrial hearing July 29.

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