A 32-year-old Marietta man has been convicted in the death of his baby daughter.
After a weeklong trial, a Cobb County jury found Sidrick Melancon guilty on Tuesday of second-degree murder for the shaking death of 10-month-old Laura in August 2017, prosecutors announced.
The child’s mother, Sadai Higgenbotham, faces a charge of malice murder because investigators believe she is the one who shook the girl. Higgenbotham, 27, awaits trial.
A Cobb police warrant accuses the mother of “violently shaking” the girl, causing blood to pool between the baby’s brain and skull. Police did not say what preceded the alleged shaking.
“This man saw, heard, and was told about everything happening to this defenseless child. Despite all of these warnings, the defendant ignored them, and shut down the opportunities for this child’s life to be saved,” said prosecutor Drew Healy.
On the morning of Aug. 5, 2017, Higgenbotham texted Melancon to say she couldn’t wake the girl.
According to prosecutors, Melancon drove the unresponsive and “purplish” child to an urgent care. Witnesses told the jury that Melancon dropped the child “like a sack of potatoes” at the urgent care and then left. Prosecutors said he drove to the liquor store and ran errands afterward.
The baby was rushed to WellStar Kennestone Hospital and then taken by helicopter to a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta facility.
In addition to the brain bleeding, prosecutors said doctors found old and new fractures to her right leg. She was declared brain dead and removed from life support.
The girl and her parents lived in an apartment near Delk and Bentley roads with Melancon’s long-term girlfriend and the three children he fathered with that woman.
Prosecutors said Melancon testified that at the time of Laura’s death that he did not know he was the girl’s father.
He also said that the other woman “had complained to him about Sadai’s treatment of Laura, and that (the other woman) had contacted” the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services.
DFCS was not immediately available to confirm those details when contacted late Tuesday afternoon.
Melancon’s charge of second-degree murder became law in July 2014, and is for when “the death of a child results from criminal negligence,” prosecutors said.
Melancon was also convicted of one charge of child cruelty and two counts of influencing a witness, which come from him telling Higgenbotham and the other woman to lie about what happened to the girl.
Court records show that detectives got jail phone recordings of Higgenbotham allegedly admitting that she lied to investigators like Melancon had asked.
In one jail call, Melancon said: “I didn’t do anything to that baby, but I didn’t do anything for that baby. So … that’s on me.”
Melancon faces a maximum of 50 years behind bars at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 21.
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