Jury Doesn’t Buy Genetic Defense
A Flushing man has been convicted of manslaughter in the death of his infant daughter in October 2007 by violently shaking her and slamming her head into an object, which caused her to suffer a massive skull fracture, broken legs and catastrophic brain injury.
The grave physical injuries were reportedly consistent with the trauma associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome and abusive head trauma.
Hang Bin Li, 28, of Union Street in Flushing, was convicted on Friday, Feb. 1 of second-degree manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child following a four-week jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Buchter, who set a sentencing date of Mar. 4.
Li, who has been held without bail since his arrest in March 2008, faces a minimum of one to three years in prison and a maximum of five to 15 years in prison.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Hang Bin Li called a friend on the afternoon of Oct. 22, 2007, and told him that his 10-week-old daughter Annie Li was sick and that he needed the friend to take her for a check-up.
When the friend arrived at the Li residence at approximately 8 p.m. that night, he saw that the infant was sweating, not moving her arms or legs, and making distressed gurgling sounds.
Despite her apparent sickly condition, Li chose not to seek immediate medical treatment for his daughter but instead called China to discuss Annie’s condition with his and his wife’s parents.
It was only after the baby became very sick around midnight that 911 was called and Annie was rushed to Flushing Hospital Medical Center, where she was admitted in an unresponsive condition and without a heartbeat or pulse.
Once revived, Annie was placed on life support.
On Oct. 24, 2007, Li told police through a Mandarin Chinese interpreter that, while holding his daughter, he had accidently bumped her head on a night stand just before placing the call to 911.
Annie was declared brain dead on Oct. 26, 2007, and life support was withdrawn two days later, at which time she died.
Following her death, Annie was found to have a genetic variant which defense argued at trial produced osteogenesis imperfecta (sometimes known as brittle bone disease) and thereby made her more vulnerable to incidental, accidental trauma, which resulted in her death.
However, according to medical authorities who testified at trial, such an accident would not have caused the baby to suffer a massive skull fracture, broken legs and catastrophic brain injury.
Such severe injuries as those suffered by Annie, according to medical personnel, were consistent with the trauma of Shaken Baby Syndrome- in which a baby is repeatedly and violently shaken and with blunt force trauma to her head and body.
The investigation was conducted by detectives assigned to the NYPD’s 109th Precinct Detective Squad and the Queens Homicide and Queens Child Abuse Squads.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Leigh Bishop, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, prosecuted the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Marjory D. Fisher, bureau chief, and Kenneth M. Appelbaum and Lucinda C. Suarez, deputy bureau chiefs, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Charles A. Testagrossa and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel A. Saunders.