NEW ORLEANS – A man who said he was using crack cocaine and panicked the night his child was found dead while in his care was booked on a second-degree murder charge, according to the NOPD.
Jeffery Coleman, 50, was arrested late Monday in connection with the death of Christian Coleman, who was not yet three weeks old. Coleman indicated to police that his son’s death was caused by an accidental fall, but the Orleans Parish Coroner’s office indicated that the injuries to the child, which included a skull fracture, were the result of ‘non-accidental trauma.’
The death happened just after midnight on March 23 at a home in the 4700 block of Lafaye Street.
Coleman was left in charge of his child because the child’s mother was in the hospital after undergoing emergency gall bladder surgery, according to an arrest warrant obtained by The New Orleans Advocate.
The warrant indicates that Coleman told investigators that his son had fallen off the bed in the afternoon and that later that night he put the child to bed around 7 p.m. The document indicates Coleman found the child unresponsive shortly after midnight and called his aunt for help. “My baby is dead,” is what he told her.
However, when his aunt got to the apartment and found the child unresponsive, Coleman was not there and she called him on the cell phone to see where he was.
The police report said Coleman told investigators that he “panicked and … was afraid.”
He told police that at one point he bit the child to see if he would respond. The warrant indicates that he stated he had once been a crack addict and that he relapsed that night.
The warrant also indicates that the child’s mother told detectives she and Coleman dated for almost two years and lived in the apartment on Lafaye Street. She told them Coleman had been abusive with her and the child previously.
Coleman’s bail was set Tuesday morning at $450,000.
He is being represented by attorney John Fuller.