A man accused of causing a toddler’s brain to bleed by shaking him in 2013 was given a February trial date at a hearing in Miller County Tuesday.
The case of Quinton Montel Hope, 29, was scheduled for jury selection next week. Hope’s lawyers, Jason Horton and Matt Stephens of Texarkana, asked Circuit Judge Carlton Jones to delay the trial to give them time to arrange for an independent review of medical evidence.
Hope is accused of shaking his former girlfriend’s two-year-old son with such force that the child suffered a brain injury in October 2013. The child’s mother reported that her son was listless, sleepy and short of breath on the morning of Oct. 27, 2013.
The mother took the youngster to Wadley Hospital in Texarkana where he was diagnosed with “bleeding on the brain” and a transfer to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock was arranged. At Children’s, staff diagnosed the toddler with “shaken baby syndrome” and noted several rib fractures which appeared at least two weeks old, court records show.
Hope, the only person with access to the child during the window of time he was harmed other than the mother, was arrested by Texarkana, Ark., police and charged with second degree battery. He is currently free on a $20,000 bond and denies any wrongdoing.
“Defendant has no criminal history and has been offered prison time in exchange for pleading guilty to this offense,” states a motion seeking a trial continuance filed by the defense Monday.
In the motion, Hope’s lawyers mention discussions with a medical expert who recently advised the defense that the child’s x-rays and MRI scans should be reviewed by an independent radiologist. Testimony from an expert witness that refutes opinions from doctors testifying for the state could amount to reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors.
The motion also mentions “inexplicably” missing photographs taken by the Arkansas Department of Human Services of the child’s home on East 10th Street in 2013.
“The prosecution is in the process of sending an investigator out to take photographs to potentially utilize in place of the originals,” the motion states. “As of the filing of this motion (Sept. 28), the defense has not received these pictures. Once these pictures are received and reviewed, it might be necessary for the defense to consult with an accident reconstruction expert or biomechanical engineer.”
Hope faces a fine up to $15,000 and five to 20 years in prison if convicted.