BURLINGTON (CBC) – The case of a Burlington woman accused of killing a six-month-old infant girl in her care is now in the hands of a jury.
Prosecutors say Ridhima Dhekane was a healthy baby leading up to her death on March 27, 2014. The only explanation, they say, is 44-year-old Pallavi Macharla caused her fatal injuries.
“While in the defendant’s care Ridhima’s brain was subjected to violent acceleration and deceleration, her head impacted against something hard enough to cause multiple sites of bleeding,” said Middlesex County prosecutor Katharine Folger during closing arguments.
Macharla was babysitting the infant in her Burlington home when she says Ridhima choked on chunky homemade applesauce, vomited and stopped breathing. Prosecutors claim Macharla was increasingly frustrated with a fussy baby and took violent action in a case of shaken baby syndrome.
“The Commonwealth wants you to believe that Pallavi must have lost her mind and done something that would have been unthinkable to anyone who knew her well,” said defense attorney J.W. Carney. He says the baby had no injuries on her body consistent with being violently shaken, with medical experts testifying to that. “There was no external trauma, no injury was seen to the child after this violent shaking,” said Carney. He put up a checklist of items he claims could not be corroborated in this case.
But prosecutors say Macharla never called 911 and lied to police about leaving Ridhima in the care of a friend for a half hour.
“She was not concerned about Ridhima, it was all about her,” said Folger.
The judge has given the jury four possible outcomes in the case, not guilty, guilty of first- or second-degree murder, or involuntary manslaughter.