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Father charged with hitting and shaking his crying infant son, causing irreversible brain damage

Carlos Martinez, 26, is charged with attempted murder. Prosecutors said a doctor found that the injuries to the baby were from “extreme violent shaking,” similar to the trauma of a 40 mph car crash.

Sun-Times file photo

A South Side father was so upset with his infant son’s crying that he struck and shook the baby, causing irreversible brain damage, prosecutors said in a court hearing Friday.

Carlos Martinez, 26, allegedly told police he was the only person watching the child during the time a doctor claimed the 4-month-old boy suffered brain damage from abuse.

The doctor found that the injuries were from “extreme violent shaking,” similar to the trauma of a 40 mph car crash, prosecutors said.

The child began to vomit and foam from the mouth, but Martinez allegedly did not seek medical treatment for the child for two days. The doctor said that likely worsened the baby’s condition.

The child will never walk or talk, and will require a feeding tube and intensive care for the rest of his life, prosecutors said.

Martinez began looking after the infant and two other children on Nov. 24 when the child’s mother left for work at a residential care facility, where she stays six days at a time, prosecutors said.

A 6-year-old child in the house saw Martinez repeatedly strike the infant because he was crying and wouldn’t sleep, prosecutors said. Martinez allegedly hit the 6-year-old too.

Martinez called the mother on Nov. 27 to say the child was being “fussy” and throwing up, prosecutors said. The next night, the child began foaming from the mouth, prosecutors said. Martinez called his dad, who told him to call 911 and take the child to a hospital.

The mother did not learn her child was hospitalized until her 6-year-old daughter’s school called to ask why she wasn’t in class, prosecutors said.

Martinez was arrested Thursday at the home in the 4800 block of South Throop Street, police said. He initially told detectives he didn’t remember shaking the child violently, but later claimed he had shaken the child because the child wouldn’t sleep, prosecutors said.

Martinez had lived with the mother for 10 months before the alleged incident, his defense attorney said. The attorney said a police report shows Martinez was tearful in his interview with police.

The attorney claimed the attempted murder charge against Martinez was too severe. “Reckless, negligent perhaps, but I don’t think that signifies intent,” the attorney said.

The attorney claimed the alleged incident doesn’t show he’s a threat to the public. Judge Charles Beach disagreed and denied bail.

“This is a very, very young child — the weakest of all of us in society. And the willingness to do this indicates a craven behavior that I think threatens not just his children but other people,” Beach said.

Martinez is also charged with aggravated battery. His next court date is Dec. 27.