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Father gets 15 to life for fatal shaking of New Year's baby

  • Story Highlights
  • Ohio man pleads guilty to murder, endangering children
  • Craig Wilson confessed to shaking baby after argument with wife
  • Autopsy suggested 10-week-old infant had been abused before
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By Jim Kavanagh
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(CNN) -- The father of a New Year's Day baby pleaded guilty Thursday to killing the infant by violently shaking him.

Camryn's brain, eyes and ribs were severely injured when his father violently shook him. He died March 25, 2008.

Camryn Jakeb Wilson was the first baby born in 2008 in Summit County, Ohio, arriving at 12:33 a.m. January 1.

Craig Wilson's guilty plea in Akron, Ohio, to murder and child endangering charges ended a yearlong saga surrounding the death of Camryn Jakeb Wilson, the first baby born in Summit County, Ohio, in 2008.

"This type of crime is always difficult to understand, but today I do hope that Camryn's mother has some closure and that today is one step toward healing," Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said.

Camryn's mother, Crystal Wilson, had left the 10-week-old infant in his father's care on March 12, 2008, while she attended a meeting.

When she returned to their Cuyahoga Falls home she found Camryn in a baby swing, listless and breathing abnormally while her husband of 10 months sat on a couch.

Doctors at Akron Children's Hospital quickly determined that Camryn had suffered traumatic brain injuries and bleeding in his eyes that could only have been caused by violent shaking. Learn about shaken baby syndrome »

Camryn died in his mother's arms, surrounded by other family members, on March 25, 2008, shortly after being removed from life support.

Craig Wilson, 29, confessed to police that he was frustrated after an argument with his wife over his ex-girlfriend and a child he had with her. He shook and squeezed Camryn before laying him in the swing but hadn't intended to hurt the infant, he told police.

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome estimates that as many as 1,400 babies annually are injured or killed by shaking.


  • National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Prevent Child Abuse America
  • Shaken Baby Task Force
  • Tribute page: The Children of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Despite the confession, the case dragged on for a year after an autopsy showed Camryn had suffered broken ribs prior to the fatal shaking. The finding raised the possibility that another person had previously abused Camryn and perhaps contributed to his death, said Jonathan T. Sinn, Craig Wilson's defense attorney. Photo See photos of the family »

Craig Wilson's trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

Sinn had hoped to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors that would send Craig Wilson to prison for a flat 20-year term, but in the end, prosecutors wouldn't budge.


"From the moment my client was arrested, he took responsibility for his actions and for the killing of his child," Sinn said. "From a human perspective, that's very admirable. From a defense perspective, it makes it difficult to mount a defense when somebody acknowledges completely their guilt."

Judge Lynne Callahan sentenced Wilson to 15 years to life. He is unlikely to be paroled in less than 20 years, Sinn said.

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