A Long Beach man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to Massachusetts to stand trial in the 2016 death of a 2-year-old boy.
After being taken into custody in California, investigators brought Timy Jo Griffin, 24, to Massachusetts where he pleaded not guilty today to the charges of murder and reckless endangerment of a child, according to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office.
The DA’s office said Griffin was caring for his then-girlfriend’s son, Nazier Phillips, on Dec. 5, 2016. Just before 7 that night, someone called 911 for an unresponsive toddler, they said.
Paramedics took Phillips to a local hospital where he was flown to Boston for treatment, according to authorities. He died from his injuries three days later, the DA’s office said.
Griffin told police the boy had a tantrum during a diaper change and fell off his toddler bed, hitting his head and rendering him unconscious, according to the DA’s office. Detectives interviewed the doctors who treated the boy and an outside expert during their investigation, according to the prosecutors.
“All stated that the young child’s injuries, namely extreme retinal hemorrhaging and uncontrollable swelling to his brain, were likely the result of violent shaking and/or slamming of the young child,” a press release from the DA’s office said.
While Phillips was still in critical condition in the hospital, Griffin returned to California, where he has stayed since, according to the DA’s office. Griffin’s attorney, John Geary, said his client has nothing to hide and has been in constant contact with Massachusetts authorities.
A grand jury in Plymouth County returned a secret indictment on June 28 and state police detectives brought Griffin back to Massachusetts to face the charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.