KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo man charged with abusing his 2-month-old son admitted to hitting and squeezing the baby when he was just 3 weeks old, according to court documents.

Paul Morgan Preston was arraigned with five counts of first-degree child abuse last week, Kalamazoo District Court records show. While Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety received the report of child abuse a week ago, a probable cause document said the abuse started around April 1.

A doctor at Bronson Hospital reported the suspected child abuse to KDPS on May 23 after the baby, named Liam, showed up with life-threatening injuries — a fractured skull, tears in brain tissue, strained neck ligaments and broken ribs, arm and leg bones. The doctor said all the injuries were in different stages of healing, meaning they happened at different times.

The doctor said she asked Preston how Liam was injured and he explained it all away. The broken arm, he said, came from an accidental fall while he was holding the baby. He also described the infant getting a bloody nose after the child accidentally hit his face, the doctor told police.

Later, when detectives spoke to Preston, he admitted to punching or hitting Liam four separate times, according to a probable cause document. He told police he would squeeze the baby’s head and torso, and throw him on a bed or into the air before catching him. The abuse had been going on since Liam was just 3 weeks old, Preston told police.

Preston admitted that he knew the abuse was seriously harming his son and told detectives that each time after it happened, he would “think about that and cry,” according to court documents.

Preston has a probable cause hearing conference scheduled for June 6 and a preliminary hearing for June 13.


Liam continues to recover in the hospital, with his mother, Norene Burkhead, at his side.

“For what he’s been through, he’s doing good. He’s out of the ICU per say, but they’re keeping him there because he’s got tubes in his head that’s draining blood off of his brain,” said Burkhead. “He’s a strong 2-month-old, that’s for sure.”

Liam is suffering from a broken arm, injured ribs, neck ligaments, knee and a fractured skull, as well as a lifelong seizure disorder, according to Burkhead.

“It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be a long road. A very long road. And I think with the help of the community, my family, my friends. It’s going to be a long road but I think I’ll survive. We’ll work on it,” she said.

The 2-month-old has already shown progress. He is awake and doctors told his mother they expect a decent recovery.

“He was on a breathing tube for a couple days … he got off it Friday,” said Burkhead. “He is breathing 100% on his own.”

A GoFundMe account has been created to help Liam’s family.