A judge on Tuesday ordered a 26-year-old man bound over for trial on a charge of child cruelty, but lowered bail by $200,000 after officers testified the injured child has been released from the hospital.
Richard Graham is now being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 26.
Prosecutors allege Graham inflicted injuries including skull fractures on the 1-year-old boy who was left in his care on July 30. Graham had been dating the child’s mother, Chianti Parker.
According to sheriff’s reports, Graham told detectives he shook the child, and that the boy fell and hit his head while in the shower.
Graham and Parker work for Greenleaf Distribution Services, Inc., a company employing door-to-door magazine salesmen. The group was staying at a Super 8 in Buttonwillow when Graham allegedly hurt the boy.
James Murley, a co-worker and Graham’s roommate for several days before the child was injured, testified during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing that he saw Graham use his hand to turn the child’s head, but he couldn’t tell how much force was used and didn’t think anything of it. He said he told investigators Graham would never hurt the boy, and would defend the child if someone else had tried to hurt him.
Graham’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman, questioned Murley, who was briefly left alone with the boy, about his drug use and temper. Murley testified he has a medical marijuana recommendation and smokes pot just about every day.
He testified he is epileptic, suffers from anxiety and depression and has been diagnosed as bipolar but refuses to take medication because he’s “very against pills.” Cadman asked him a question about bipolar disorder and the risk of violence, but Judge William J. McGrath sustained an objection by the prosecution.
Murley was questioned by investigators July 31 after Graham blamed him for the injuries to the boy, sheriff’s reports say. He passed a polygraph test.
Cadman also drew attention to a pit bull, estimated between 80 to 90 pounds, that was with the group and which Graham walked in the area. Neither Murley nor another witness, sheriff’s Senior Deputy Robert Meyer, could say with certainty that the dog had not been left alone with the child.
“What we’ve learned from the witnesses is nobody knows anything,” Cadman said before McGrath made his ruling. “Nobody saw anything.”
According to testimony, the child is back in the care of his mother and has “some paralysis” on his right side. He will need continuing medical treatment.