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Largo father accused of severely injuring his 5-month-old son

LARGO — A 6-foot-1, 220-pound man is accused of slamming his infant son against a crib, causing severe brain injuries to the 5-month-old baby.

Largo police said 32-year-old Michael Alan Hopkins of 14330 58th St. N, No. 1024 first said his son fell off a couch, but later admitted he was violent with the infant.

Police learned of the case about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday when they were called to Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater about a baby with a head injury.

Doctors determined the infant had a skull fracture and was suffering from brain and retinal hemorrhaging, police said. The infant was transferred to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

During their investigation, police discovered Hopkins had been home alone with his son when the incident happened. The baby's mother, who is Hopkins' girlfriend, was at work at the time, police said. The family recently moved to the area from Connecticut, said Largo police Lt. Edward Sohoski.

After the infant was injured, Hopkins was able to reach his girlfriend's parents, who got in touch with their daughter. The woman and her parents went to the apartment. They and Hopkins took the baby to the hospital, Sohoski said.

Hopkins originally told detectives the baby may have been injured from falling off the couch onto a carpeted floor, police said.

He agreed to go back to the apartment he shares with his girlfriend to show investigators what happened, Sohoski said.

"It was at the apartment they started finding some inconsistencies in his story and it ended up with him admitting what he did," Sohoski said.

Hopkins told detectives he had become angry when the baby fell off the couch and said he "violently" picked the infant up before hitting the baby's head against a wooden crib railing, according to Largo police.

Hopkins said he then snatched the baby out of the crib, which caused the infant's head to snap backward, police said.

Hopkins was charged with aggravated child abuse. On Wednesday afternoon, he was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. He does not have a criminal record in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Pinellas court records show Hopkins was appointed a public defender and ordered not to have any contact with his girlfriend.

The baby's condition was not released Wednesday, but police characterized the injuries as "severe" and said testing and observation were ongoing.

Largo father accused of severely injuring his 5-month-old son 11/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 9:57pm]
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