Man charged in death of infant

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By Alice Du Pont

Bobby Matthew Dukes Jr., a 20-year-old Quincy man, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 3-month-old son, Bobby Marquez Dukes.

According to a report released by the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office, Dukes confessed July 28 to striking  the baby's head on a wooden chair when the child would not stop crying.

The report stated that the baby's crying woke Dukes up about 5 a.m. on June 17. The child's mother got up to change the diaper and left the baby alone with him when she went to the kitchen to prepare the baby's bottle. Dukes told authorities the baby continued to cry and he became frustrated and forcefully hit the baby's head against the top left side of a wooden chair.

The events that led up to the July 28 arrest began when GCSO Sgt. Scott Ivey met Emergency Medical Services at the child's grandmother's home on Astor Court in Quincy. When EMS arrived, "the infant was deceased and resuscitation would be futile," the report stated.

On June 18, Dr. Anthony Clark, associate medical examiner, found nothing suspicious when he visually inspected the baby. However, when X-rays were taken, areas of suspicion included the skull, ribs, right radius (arm) and left inside femur (thigh). The doctor concluded that numerous healing fractures of the ribs were caused by hard squeezing, indicating child abuse.

The internal examination of the skull revealed one skull fracture due to a single blow to the right side of the head that caused moderate brain swelling. Clark said this forceful blow to the baby's head was not an accidental injury, it was the result of blunt force trauma to the head, according to the report.

In February, 19-year-old  Kearse Raeshon Bradham of Midway was also charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 2-month-old daughter, Keyoine Bradham. Bradham also told authorities after confessing that he was "frustrated" before he struck the baby's head on the wooden edge of a bed.

"These deaths are so sad and so similar. We have to do something. I'm going to talk with the people at Department of Children and Families. Maybe we can get help for these young fathers with parenting skills classes or workshops. Something has  to be done to stop this," said Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young.

Bradham and Dukes could each face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.