Infant’s father was arraigned Tuesday on murder charges
By Ed Runyan
Matthew Wilson, 32, of Niles and Minerva, was arraigned Tuesday in Niles Municipal Court on a murder charge, accused of causing the death of his 5-week-old daughter Feb. 10 at their home on Bellaire Court.
Bond was set at $100,000, and a not-guilty plea was entered for him.
The mother of the baby, Brittany Watkins, 27, called 911 at 2:16 p.m. Feb. 10, saying her daughter, Aubrianna, had a heart condition, had been in a hospital neonatal intensive care unit and was now in distress, according to a log of calls to Niles dispatchers.
An ambulance went to the Bellaire Court address and took the baby to the hospital.
At 5:44 a.m. the next day, a Saturday, personnel from Akron Children’s Hospital called Niles police to report that the baby’s injuries might be child abuse.
The baby had suffered brain bleeds and rib fractures, the hospital said, adding that such injuries “would have been caused from being shaken or squeezed.”
Trumbull County Children Services indicated it would send an investigator to Akron Children’s Hospital the following Monday. Law enforcement also began an investigation.
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s office says the cause and manner of death of the child are pending further studies.
Wilson’s father, Charles Wilson of Minerva, attended Tuesday’s arraignment, speaking with reporters afterward, saying his son told him he tripped and accidentally fell on the baby, adding that his son is 225 pounds.
“He said she was fine. She was crying, but she was fine,” Charles Wilson said of the baby.
Charles Wilson said he doesn’t understand why his son is charged with murder and Watkins isn’t being held responsible for anything.
“I can’t understand why they charged him,” Charles Wilson said.
“Her story was all over the place,” he said of Watkins. “Why aren’t they investigating her?”
Charles Wilson said his son “takes care of his family. He wouldn’t harm a fly.”
He said his son told him, “‘You know I love my kids. I wouldn’t do anything to them.’”
Charles added, “He was thrilled to death to have a little girl.”
The couple, who are not married, had two children together, the girl, and a boy, 2. Watkins has an older child from another relationship, Charles said.
Aubrianna was born a month premature and was in the hospital until a few days before the Feb. 10 incident, Charles Wilson said.
Meanwhile, The Vindicator obtained a Boardman police report Tuesday about a 2015 incident at Akron Children’s Hospital of the Mahoning Valley that resulted in Matthew Wilson’s being convicted of misdemeanor assault.
On May 17, 2015, Wilson was trying to feed their son, then nearly 3 months old, the report says. Watkins was behind a curtain pumping breast milk.
Watkins said she could tell Wilson “was getting upset” with their son “because he would not eat for him, and Matthew was talking to [the baby] in a stern voice,” the report says.
Watkins said she lifted the curtain to see what was going on and saw Wilson “roughly wiping [their son’s] mouth with a wash cloth.” Watkins said she “spoke up about what she saw.”
At that point, Watkins said Wilson “put [the baby] down inside the crib, walked behind the curtain where she was standing, grabbed her by the face with his right hand and shoved her backward where she fell onto the couch.”
When a nurse came into the room, Watkins told the nurse what happened, and the nurse called security, which called Boardman police. Wilson was arrested in the parking lot and charged with domestic violence.
Watkins said neither she nor the baby were harmed during the incident, and neither one showed signs of trauma or injury, police said.