A Coffee County father has been
charged with murder for killing his
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
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
The charge was later updated to aggravated child
abuse and neglect and first degree murder after his child
The Manchester Police Department is working on the
case in an attempt to ascertain exactly how the fatal injuries
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