BOSTON, Dec. 13, 2013—The Middlesex County Grand Jury yesterday returned an indictment charging a Lowell father with second-degree murder in the shaking death of 9-week-old William Berry earlier this year, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
The indictment moves the case against CHRISTOPHER BERRY (D.O.B. 5/14/90) from Lowell District Court, where he had previously been charged, to Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, where he will be arraigned on Monday.
William Berry was hospitalized on May 11 with grievous injuries that prosecutors allege were inflicted by his father shaking him violently; he died of those injuries less than a week later.
Assistant District Attorney Gloriann Moroney, chief of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Child Protection Unit, led the grand jury investigation leading to yesterday’s indictment. Because a social worker assigned to the Berry family after William’s birth is related to Ryan but is also a potential witness, Ryan referred the case out to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Lowell Police and the Middlesex County State Police Detective Unit responded to the Berrys’ Mammoth Street home with emergency medical technicians to find the infant unresponsive. He was transported to Lowell General Hospital and later Tufts Floating Hospital for Children, where he died of catastrophic brain injuries on May 17.
In the aftermath of the child’s hospitalization, Christopher Berry allegedly made statements that he had shaken William. He was arrested and later arraigned on a charge of assault and battery on a child causing serious bodily injury. That case will be dismissed once he is arraigned on the indicted offense.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.