Byron Ellison has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his 2 month old son. According to court documents ambulance attendants arrived at the Mississippi home to find a two month old boy unresponsive. The little boy was rushed to hospital but do to his severe injuries he would be flown out of state to a trauma center in New Orleans. Unfortunately the injuries were horrific and the 2 month old would pass away. The coroner would remark that the 2 month old child died from severe blunt force trauma to the back of his head. The child’s father Byron Ellison would be arrested and charged with murder. Byron Ellison would be convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison
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A Gulfport man charged with capital murder for the 2018 death of his baby boy will spend the rest of his life in prison. Byron Ellison, 32, stood trial this week in Harrison County.
The investigation began on October 15, 2018, when first responders arrived at a home on Calcutta Drive in Gulfport. They found an unresponsive 2-month-old baby and immediately took him to Garden Park Hospital. Because of the child’s significant injuries, he was then sent to Oschner Medical Center in New Orleans.
Three days later the baby died from what doctors described as a devastating, catastrophic neurological injury. An autopsy found the injury was a result of blunt force trauma to the back of the head, and the death was ruled a homicide.
Investigators from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office first interviewed the parents at Garden Park Hospital.
“The baby’s mother stated that the baby woke up at approximately 3:30 a.m. when the baby was fed and went back to sleep. The baby woke up again at approximately 6:30 a.m., when she changed the baby. She stated that she left the baby in the care of his father and went to the kitchen to make the baby a bottle.
She stated that a couple of minutes later, Byron Ellison came to the kitchen with the baby, who was limp. They called 911 and she performed CPR on the baby until first responders arrived,” stated Assistant District Attorney Patti Simpson, who prosecuted the case with Billy Stage.
When Crime Scene Technicians went to the home they found evidence that backed up the mother’s story about changing the baby and preparing a bottle in the kitchen.
The father’s statement to investigators recounted the same sequence of events, but he gave different explanations for the baby’s injuries. He said he was bouncing the baby on his knee, then that the baby hit his collarbone, and then that the baby fell off of the bed. The father said he was sleep-deprived and ultimately that he was afraid to tell the mother what he did.
“The prosecution of this case could not have happened without the tireless work of the Investigators and Crime Scene Technicians of the Harrison County’s Sheriff Department. That, coupled with the medical professionals who testified, helped to show the jury what happened and who was responsible. I am proud of how they all worked together. In the end, this case was tragic and involved the loss of life of a two-month old child. We pray that that this conviction assists in healing process,” stated District Attorney W. Crosby Parker.
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When 2-month-old Colton Wyatt Ellison arrived at a New Orleans hospital in 2018, the pediatric neurosurgeon who evaluated him said the baby had already been placed on life support, had IV fluids and medication and had no signs of brain activity. In an evaluation of the child at Ochsner’s Children’s Hospital, Dr. Cuong Bui said, baby “Colt” had multiple brain bleeds or hemorrhaging in various areas in his brain and an abrasion on the back of his head. “In this particular case,” Bui said, “all the information we had pointed to an injury that could not have happened accidentally like (from) a fall or falling out of bed or playing with the baby too hard or dropping the baby.”
The doctor also documented early signs of bruising around the baby’s eyes and noted the soft spot on the baby’s head had hardened due to a lack of oxygen and “severe, widespread and catastrophic” injuries to the brain. “The (baby’s) head must have hit something with a quite a bit of force,” he said. “There were clear injuries around the eyes based on the bleeding and bruising around them.”
Because of the injuries coupled with extensive swelling in Colton’s brain, Bui said, “unfortunately, there was no surgical intervention I could do.” Bui is among others who testified on Wednesday in the capital murder trial of Byron Ellison, the baby’s father. The jury instructions issued Friday afternoon gave the jury the option to consider other charges during deliberations to include manslaughter.
Assistant district attorneys Patricia “Patti” Simpson and Billy Stage rested the state’s case Wednesday afternoon after forensic pathologist Dr. Mark LeVaughn testified, confirming the baby died of blunt impact injuries to the head. LeVaughn performed the Oct. 22, 2018, autopsy on Colton and said it showed the baby had hemorrhages in the eyes, multiple hemorrhages in the brain, and an abrasion to the back of the head from a blunt impact injury. He ruled the manner of death a homicide, though defense attorney Jim Davis questioned whether the baby’s medical issues at birth with his esophagus could have restricted the oxygen to the baby’s brain, ultimately leading to the child’s death. The baby spent four-to-six weeks in the hospital after his birth. The baby had been home from the hospital for about three weeks at the time he suffered the fatal injuries. LeVaughn said there was no sign of any issues with the baby’s esophagus at the time of the autopsy to suggest that the condition contributed to the child’s death.
Byron Ellison, and his now ex-girlfriend and mother of the child, Jessica Smith, had moved in with Ellison’s parents at their then home on Calcutta Drive, south of Robinson Road in Gulfport, after the baby got out of the hospital following surgery and treatment for esophageal problems. Harrison County sheriff’s deputies initially arrested Ellison on Oct. 15, 2018, on a felony child abuse charge after paramedics found the baby unresponsive at the couple’s home. Investigators upgraded the charge to second-degree murder after the baby was taken off of life support and died. The baby was an organ donor, according to the testimony. If convicted of capital murder, Ellison could face a sentence of life in prison or death.
In defense testimony, jurors listened as an assistant from the defense attorney’s office and prosecutor Simpson read a transcript from Ellison’s sister, Kimberly Ellison. Kimberly Ellison could not be in court to testify because she is currently serving time in a jail out of state for probation violations related to charges of felony fleeing, grand larceny and a drug paraphernalia charge. In the testimony, Kimberly Ellison said she never heard her brother and the mother of the child arguing, and both she and Ellisons’ parents said the couple seemed to get along well. In addition, Ellison’s family said, the couple had set up a schedule so Jessica Smith could take care of the baby during the day, and Ellison could take care of him at night.
Kimberly Ellison said she didn’t see either parent mistreat the child but did have concerns a few days before the alleged attack on the baby when she saw the child’s mother had just taken a shower with the baby. “I said that was very alarming, that I was unaware she did not have a baby bath,” Kimberly Ellison said.
In other testimony, Byron Ellison’s parents confirmed the couple seemed to get along and had set up a schedule to ensure someone was watching baby “Colt” at all times. Byron Ellison’s parents said they moved out of the Gulfport home they had been living in after Colton’s death because it was too hard to stay there.
After Byron Ellison’s father testified, he wheeled himself out of the courtroom without making eye contact with his son. His father is in wheelchair because he suffers from multiple sclerosis.
Earlier in the murder trial, investigators testified that Byron Ellison told three different stories about what could have led to the baby’s fatal injuries. Initially, Byron Ellison said he was bouncing the baby on his knee and may have hurt him then. In another account, Byron Ellison said the baby’s head may have been hurt when his father pulled him to his chest and the baby’s head hit his collarbone. In a third scenario, Bryon Ellison suggested the baby may have fallen off a bed.
But early on in the investigation, Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson told the Sun Herald in 2018 that Byron Ellison had admitted abusing the child because he was tired and mad when the baby wouldn’t stop crying. Jessica Smith also told jurors that Ellison often got mad and called the baby “a little shit” when he wouldn’t stop crying. Simpson recalled the events leading up to finding her baby limp and unresponsive the day of the alleged attack in earlier testimony. Defense testimony resumes Thursday in Harrison County Circuit Court before Judge Christoper Schmidt.