St. Pete man charged with first-degree murder charge in death of infant

Dillard, 33, was arrested by St. Pete Police early Saturday morning.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A 33-year-old Bay area man is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of an infant.

Jeremiah Dillard was booked into the Pinellas County Jail just after 1 a.m. Saturday morning. He is being held without bond.

According to a St. Petersburg Police Department report a 54-day-old, unresponsive child was taken to a local hospital in the early morning hours of September 24th, 2016. The child died a short time later. The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death as homicidal violence.

Clerissa Baker lived near Dillard at the time and was awakened by the sound of sirens. She was standing nearby when the child was taken from the house.

“I was trying to think to myself, I was like man, what could’ve have happened because of the amount of blood my husband had seen [on the child],” Baker explained. “I was trying to make sense of it; what could possibly have happened?”

The child died from a combination of asphyxia, blunt trauma, and malnutrition.

Baker knew for certain something was awry when law enforcement remained at the scene hours after the baby was transported.

“I woke up the next morning and they were [still] there,” she said. “They were standing out there as if they were guarding [the home]. It’s very unfortunate.”

Investigators say Dillard confessed to being ‘too tough’ with the victim after he was read his Miranda Rights. The suspect also admitted to being the sole caregiver for the child when the fatal injuries occurred.

This is not Dillard’s first brush with law enforcement. In April 2011, he was arrested by Gainesville Police cruelty towards a child and aggravated battery on a child charges. He accepted a plea agreement to child neglect charges in that case.

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