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Coffee County father charged with killing baby

Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 1:30 pm

A Coffee County father has been

charged with murder for killing his

five-week-old son.

The father, Gavin Clark, 21, of MacArthur

Street has been charged with

aggravated child abuse and first degree

murder for the death of a child. He is being

held on a $2 million bond, according

to the Coffee County Sheriff ’s Department.

Police were called into the case after the child was

treated Saturday, Jan. 4, in Tennova Healthcare – Harton

in Tullahoma for severe trauma and did not survive.

Manchester Police Department received a call from

the hospital on Saturday regarding the child’s severe

injuries. The infant was transported to Vanderbilt University

Medical Center but succumbed to the injuries

Sunday. The original story, authorities say, was that the

father had accidentally dropped the baby. However, doctors

reportedly refuted the claim, telling investigators

that the blunt force trauma to the child’s head was not

from a drop.

“Two Vanderbilt doctors found the injuries to be consistent

with abuse,” the murder warrant against Clark

reads.

Police believe the baby suff ered the fatal injuries at

the MacArthur Street apartment where the father lived.

“The five-week-old was in the care of Mr. Clark when

the injuries occurred,” the warrant noted.

Clark was booked in Coffee County Jail Sunday, Jan.

5, and was initially charged with aggravated child abuse

and neglect.

The charge was later updated to aggravated child

abuse and neglect and first degree murder after his child

died.

The Manchester Police Department is working on the

case in an attempt to ascertain exactly how the fatal injuries

happened.

Under state law, the young father could face life in

prison if convicted on the murder count. The aggravated

child abuse count carries 15 to 60 years in prison under

the Haley’s Law provision.

Haley’s Law makes it a Class A felony to abuse a child

under the age of nine, causing serious bodily injury. Haley’s

Law came about in 2004 when a baby named Haley

was badly abused in East Tennessee, prompting an outcry

for tougher penalties for those who abuse the helpless.

In Haley’s case; however, the girl recovered from her

injuries.

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