Father pleads not guilty to murdering infant son

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A Texarkana father accused of murder in the Dec. 9 death of his son pleaded not guilty Monday at a hearing Monday.

Shomari Kevorkian Center, 25, appeared for arraignment on felony charges Monday morning before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Tidwell appointed the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office to represent Center and a not guilty plea was entered in the case.

Center is scheduled to appear before Tidwell on June 17 for a pretrial hearing.

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Center was indicted for murder and first-degree injury to a child May 2 by a Bowie County grand jury. He was arrested less than a week later at a motel in Texarkana, Ark.

Investigators with the Texarkana, Ark., Police Department issued a statement earlier this month which states that officers responded Dec. 5 to a call in the 1000 block of College Drive regarding a baby who was not breathing. Responding officers immediately began CPR and summoned paramedics.

Center allegedly claimed he carried the months-old child from his residence in the 2800 block of Texas Blvd. to College Drive looking for help.

The baby was transported to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock after being treated at St. Michael’s hospital in Texarkana, Texas. He died Dec. 9.

An autopsy allegedly revealed the child had bleeding in the brain and fractures on both sides of his body in various stages of healing, indicating he had been injured on more than one occasion.

Bail is set at $1 million. Center is being held in the Bowie County jail. If convicted of murder, Center faces five to 99 years to life in prison.

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