By Christina Hager

BROCKTON (CBS) – It took almost three years for prosecutors to build their case against Timy Jo Griffin, who pleaded not guilty to murder and reckless endangerment of a child.

The 24-year-old has maintained that since December of 2016, his ex-girlfriend’s 2-year-old boy lost consciousness when the toddler fell from his bed. He had been caring for the boy in their Brockton apartment. He died three days later.

“In the course of watching this child – as he so often did – he smoked marijuana and took sleeping pills to ensure that he could get proper sleep so he could work at night,” said Brockton prosecutor Jeremy Kusmin.  “He claimed that … the child hit the guardrail and then fell onto the back of his head, rendering him unconscious and not breathing. This is according to this defendant.”

Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz said the boy’s brain was so swollen, doctors went to extreme measures trying to save him. “They actually remove a portion of your skull in order to relieve the pressure. When they did that with this child, they had to remove another portion, the damage was so significant.”

Prosecutors say they spent years waiting for an autopsy and questioning those doctors, along with an independent expert.  “They all surmised that these injuries were likely the result of violent and extreme shaking and or slamming of this 2-year-old’s body,” said Kusmin.

According to the request for a warrant filed in court, Griffin left Brockton for his native California two days after the boy’s death. His attorney insisted it was not an attempt to flee law enforcement. “He’s never done anything to hide. He’s been in constant contact back here. He’s still friends with the mother of the child,” said attorney John Geary.

Authorities picked Griffin up in California after a grand jury handed up the indictment. He’s being held without bail.

Christina Hager

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