Trial for accused baby killer to start today

DOVER — A trial for a 48-year-old Harrington man accused of the homicide of a 7-month-old child in his care three years ago is scheduled to begin today in Kent County Superior Court.

James E. Hammond is charged with first-degree murder by abuse or neglect while babysitting Aubri N. Thompson of Dover at his home in the 200 block of Commerce Street on Feb. 28, 2014.

At the time of his arrest, the Delaware State Police said an Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the child’s death to be a homicide by blunt force trauma to her head.

Mr. Hammond and the child’s aunt – his girlfriend — had been caring for the girl since Feb. 25, 2014 while her parents were vacationing out of state, authorities said.

According to police, it was alleged that the girl had fallen from a crib to the floor while Mr. Hammond was watching her alone for 3 1/2 hours on Feb. 27, 2014.

James. E. Hammond

Mr. Hammond and the child’s aunt brought the unresponsive baby to the Milford Memorial Hospital Emergency Room the next day, police said, Attempts to revive the child beginning at 6:21 p.m. were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead just over an hour later.

Five previous trial dates have been delayed, beginning on May 5, 2015. Mr. Hammond was arrested on March 14, 2014 and indicted on May 5 the same year.

Deputy Attorney General Stephen R. Welch is prosecuting the case, with P. Scott Wilson representing the defendant. Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. will preside over the matter.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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