Jennings man admits shaking 7-week-old daughter

Preliminary autopsy results could bring murder charge

JENNINGS — Police are awaiting preliminary autopsy results to determine whether a Jennings man will face additional charges after the death of his 7-week-old daughter.

The newborn died Wednesday after being taken off life support at a New Orleans hospital.

Authorities and medical personnel said she showed signs of shaken baby syndrome, including bleeding on the brain, a broken tibia, a fractured rib and a lacerated liver. Some of the injuries may have been old, officials said.

Police Chief Danny Semmes said an autopsy was to be conducted Friday, with preliminary results expected next week.

The girl’s father, James Ray Miller, 32, was charged Monday with second-degree cruelty. He remains in the parish jail on $500,000 bond.

Semmes said the father admitted “squeezing and shaking” the baby because she was crying. “In his own words, he told us out of frustration he shook the baby,” Semmes said.

Police and emergency personnel responded to a call Monday night in the 800 block of Fourth Street about an unresponsive baby with a heart condition, Semmes said.

The father was performing CPR on the newborn when officers arrived, officials said.

Authorities have confirmed the child had a heart condition and are subpoenaing medical records from all the hospitals the baby had been in, Semmes said.

The newborn was taken to Jennings American Legion Hospital, where she was revived, and was then flown to New Orleans.

“With all the initial information from the hospital we were able to charge the father with cruelty to a juvenile,” Semmes said. Those charges could be upgraded to murder, he said.

The child’s mother was at work at the time of the incident, officials said.

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James Ray Miller was charged Monday with second-degree cruelty.

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