Tears flowed on both sides of a Superior Courtroom in Placerville Thursday morning, with family members of murder defendant Michael Swope sobbing along with supporters of Michael’s wife Alicia, mother of the 6-week-old baby her husband was found guilty of slaying.
The unanimous verdict finding the 32-year-old Pollock Pines man guilty of second-degree murder also held true for four other counts, all involving child abuse with great bodily injury. Jury members reportedly reached the verdict late Wednesday afternoon but were asked to return the next day so that all involved parties could be present for the reading.
Michael Swope was found guilty of killing the infant and breaking multiple ribs on the baby over the course of his short life.
El Dorado County deputy district attorney Lisette Suder grabs a prop to demonstrate what the prosecution believes was how a 6-week-old infant died at the hands of his putative father, Michael Swope. Because Swope had learned the little boy was not fathered by him, his anger over that fact boiled over into a deadly rage, Suder told the jurors during closing arguments Tuesday — just before the prosecutor turned and smashed the dummy’s head into a wooden podium.
According to the El Dorado County District Attorney, the infant was found unresponsive in his crib on Dec. 11, 2016, by his mother, Michael Swope’s wife. Ms. Swope had fed and put the baby to bed around 4 a.m. before going to sleep in her room.
When Ms. Swope woke up, she realized the baby had not eaten for several hours and found her child unresponsive in his crib. Due to the lack of external signs of injury, the death was initially thought to be SIDS.
An autopsy revealed the baby had a complex skull fracture, severe brain injuries, and multiple broken ribs, among other injuries. Officials said some of the injuries were fresh while others showed signs of healing. The injuries were connected to child abuse.
Detectives later learned that Swope is not the infant’s biological father and he believed he was the product of an affair. Due to this, officials believe Mr. Swope handled the baby aggressively and expressed animosity toward him.
On one occasion, Mr. Swope even tossed the baby to his mother who was six feet away.
An El Dorado County man has been convicted of the second-degree murder of his six-week-old baby as well as three counts of felony child abuse.
Tears flowed on both sides of a Superior Courtroom in Placerville Thursday morning, with family members of murder defendant Michael Swope sobbing along with supporters of Michael’s wife Alicia, mother of the 6-week-old baby her husband was found guilty of slaying. The unanimous verdict finding the