8-week-old dies; 22-year-old man faces murder charge

Jaquail Iman Smith. (Provided Photo/Howard County Jail)

KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) — A warrant was issued Wednesday for the arrest of a 22-year-old man on charges of murder, aggravated battery and voluntary manslaughter in the death of an 8-week-old boy, the Howard County prosecutor announced Wednesday.

Jaquail Iman Smith was being processed Wednesday night at the Howard County jail, a jail booking official said. The prosecutor, Mark McCann, said he plans to pursue a sentence of life in prison without parole in Smith’s case. A cash bond in the case was set at $500,000 in Howard Superior Court 2.

A news release from McCann said Smith intentionally killed the 8-week-old boy — who was identified only as “August M.” — while “acting under sudden heat” Nov. 8 in the 1300 block of East Alto Road, a Kingston Green apartment about a half-mile east of State Road 931 on the city’s south side.

Kokomo Police Department officers were called about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8 to Howard Regional Hospital in reference to a child there with serious head injuries, court documents said. Hospital staff had first called the Indiana Department of Child Services, which contacted police.

Police took photos of the baby’s injuries before he was taken by helicopter to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis. A police detective said in court documents that the baby had marks on his face, legs and torso, a swelling of clotted blood on the back of his head and skull fractures.

The baby’s mother, who was identified as “Kincie” in court documents provided to the news media by the prosecutor, told police she had discovered the injuries after she had left her son with her boyfriend, Smith, who is not the biological father of “August M.”

Smith told investigators that the baby was sleeping when “Kincie” left the house. After a nap, Smith said he went to check on the baby and found it was not breathing. Smith told police he shook the baby while the child was still lying on his back and pinched between its fingers, but got no response. The baby started breathing again after Smith pinched the boy’s cheek.

The mother returned home to find the baby’s head swollen.

The baby died from its injuries Nov. 9, court documents said. Family members told police that Smith apologized to “August M.” as he died. In the meantime, the Marion County Coroner’s Office raised questions about the baby’s death at the Riley Hospital. The office determined the baby died of blunt force injury to the head. In addition to the injuries recorded at the Kokomo hospital, the coroner also found a hemorrhage of the optic nerve, neck injuries and “multiple remote fractures.”

The Department of Child Services on Nov. 8 had performed drug screens on Smith and “Kincie,” and the results showed Smith tested positive for THC, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

No information was immediately available Wednesday night on an initial hearing for Smith.