IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) - The father of a twin baby boy who police say was murdered was in court Wednesday afternoon for the first time to hear the charges against him.
Police arrested Keith Thibeault Tuesday, more than five months after his 3-month-old son, Everette, died.
Thibeault was charged with open murder with alternate charges of second-degree murder and child abuse. A judge will decide which of those charges, if any, go forward to circuit court.
Court records reveal what the suspect alleges happened the night baby Everette suffered the injuries that killed him.
In sworn testimony before a district court magistrate, Portland Police Chief Robert Bauer said that Thibeault's story didn't make sense with the injuries the baby suffered.
Thibeault told investigators that he was feeding Everette's brother and left Everette in a "bopper" type seat on a couch in the basement of the family home on Hill Street in Portland, Bauer said.
"Everette ... moved to the side and kind of ... arched his back ... with the result that he tipped off the couch, he fell on the floor ... striking his head," Bauer said when describing Thibeault's claims to the magistrate. "(The baby) did not scream or cry ... looked angry and furrowed his eyebrows."
Thibeault then told authorities he put the twins to bed and later noticed that Everett was struggling to breathe, Bauer told the magistrate.
At 6:12 a.m., Thibeault called 911 for help.
"(Thibeault) did CPR based on the instructions of the dispatcher ... he did so until the officers arrived," Bauer said.
A day later, Everette died and doctors discovered a "large amount of head trauma and bleeding to his brain," Bauer said.
Among other internal injuries, doctors also discovered "aged" injuries that indicate prior trauma to Everette's head.
"The child not only suffered this massive brain injury, but also had prior brain injuries -- that there was prior abuse that occurred," Bauer said when recounting the information he received from doctors about Everette's condition.
Officers also said other parts of Thibeault's story didn't make sense -- like the time that lapsed between the infant's alleged fall and the 911 call.
When asked, Thibeault told police that he called 911 about 20 minutes after the fall took place.
"That made no sense to the officer as he indicated the time of the alleged fall was 4 a.m. and yet 911 was not called until 6:12 a.m.," Bauer said. "He could not offer any explanation as to why he could not account for those two hours."
When presented with Thibeault's explanation of what happened to Everette, doctors were skeptical.
"Short distance falls ... would not be expected to cause life threatening brain injury," Bauer said he was told by the doctors.
According to Bauer, doctors said there was a more likely cause of the injuries that they believe was not accidental.
"(The injuries are) consistent with the child being slammed down or pushed down hard onto a soft object that surrounds his head...," Bauer said, noting that Everett's neck was not injured.
When confronted with the doctor's findings that evidence was indicative of abuse, "(Thibeault) requested an attorney," Bauer said.
If convicted on the most serious charges he faces, Thibeault could face life in prison. His next court date was scheduled for later this month.
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