An Omaha man is accused of shaking his 4-month-old son, but the boy’s mother stands by him, saying she thinks another person who cared for the child caused the injury.
Kevin Clayton, 35, was ordered held on $1 million bail Friday on a charge of intentional child abuse causing serious bodily injury. That charge could be upgraded, officials said, because the child is not expected to live.
Legenn Clayton suffered head and brain trauma and retinal bleeding, prosecutor Anthony Clowe said in court.
Cathy Saathoff, an assistant Douglas County public defender, said Kevin Clayton adamantly denies hurting his son. Clayton had outstanding warrants for not registering as a sex offender from a previous conviction, but still called law enforcement for help after problems arose with his son, she said.
Lanisha Marlowe, the boy’s mother, said Clayton disagrees with physical discipline, and she said she has never seen him use force with kids. He has eight children, two of whom are with Marlowe — Legenn and Legacee, a 1-year-old girl.
“This man that cried the first time he held that baby in the hospital room … is shaking him?” said Marlowe, 24, after Clayton’s court hearing Friday. “I can’t believe it. I won’t believe it.”
Clayton called 911 about 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 from a motel room after Legenn became unresponsive, according to a police report. Marlowe was at her job at a restaurant when she said she got a call from police saying her son had suffered a seizure and Clayton had tried to perform CPR.
The next day, Marlowe said, doctors told her that the boy had a brain bleed injury from trauma that could have occurred one or two weeks prior. She said Clayton wasn’t with her son at that time. She said she thinks her son could have been hurt by day care workers or others who were caring for him while she worked.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said, however, that the child had new injuries — more bleeding on the brain and in his eyes.
“At the time, (Clayton) was the caregiver of the child,” Kleine said. “These are significant injuries that aren’t caused by an accident.”
Marlowe said Clayton had recognized strange symptoms in Legenn as early as a week before — vomiting, lethargy and infrequent bowel movements. Legenn wasn’t smiling and laughing as usual, Marlowe said.
The couple took their baby into an urgent care center days before he became unresponsive. Marlowe said workers ran tests, determined Legenn had a severe stomach flu and released him.
Even in the days after, Marlowe said, Clayton wanted to return to the hospital because Legenn continued to vomit and sleep a lot. But Marlowe was working double shifts to pay for a place for her children to sleep each night — the cheapest hotel room she could find.
Marlowe wishes the older brain bleed injury would have been caught at the urgent care. If it had, she said, the Nov. 15 incident wouldn’t have happened.
She’s still hoping for a miracle that can save Legenn’s life.
“I still have faith that he can pull through,” she said. “I just want more time with my son.”