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Man cleared of murder charges in West Englewood infant’s death

A man has been acquitted of murder charges in connection with the death of an infant who died of child abuse while in his care last year.

Willie Brown, 18, was charged with murder for the death of 4-month-old Demari Brown, whom he was watching on Sept. 26, 2013, at the child’s home in the 6000 block of South Honore, authorities said.

Police said Brown was the dead child’s father, but prosecutors said the infant was his girlfriend’s baby.

Demari was found unresponsive in a bedroom at the home. Prosecutors had accused Brown of leaving the room to go play video games after the child suddenly stopped making sounds.

However, Brown’s attorney, Anthony Hill, said witnesses testified there was nothing visibly wrong with the child when Brown tucked him in for a nap before going to play video games.

When someone checked on the baby later and realized he wasn’t breathing, Brown rushed into the room and started doing CPR, Hill said. No one said they saw Brown do anything to hurt the baby at any point, his attorney said, describing his client as “a loving father.”

The child was later pronounced dead at Holy Cross Hospital, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. An autopsy determined Demari died from multiple blunt force injuries caused by child abuse, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner’s office.

An Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigation into the child’s death “indicated abuse” against Brown and the child’s mother—meaning the agency found credible evidence the child was abused, a spokesperson said.

Brown was found not guilty of all charges Tuesday following a bench trial before Judge Vincent Gaughan, court records show.