Court Document: Opelika father’s anger over fight led to shaking his crying baby girl

Crime Tracker

OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – Court documents are revealing chilling new details in the case of a 19-year-old Opelika father accused of murdering his two-month-old girl. Demarcus Smith was arrested Thursday and charged with murdering his child, a baby girl named Maliyah.

“These are the kinds of cases that take a piece of your soul,” said Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey.

In a Deposition filed with the Lee County Court System on Friday, September 17th, an Opelika police officer at East Alabama Medical Center saw Smith walk from the parking lot without urgency while carrying a car seat covered with a blanket.

“It’s the little things officers and detectives notice that just don’t make sense, and get the little hairs standing up on the back of your neck, and get these gentlemen to start asking questions,” said Chief Healey.

An autopsy revealed the baby had a “subdural hemorrhage of the brain, bilateral optic nerve hemorrhage, healing fractures of the ribs, and minor contusions to the scalp.” Opelika Police want to be clear —the ONLY person suspected of harming this child is Smith. Investigators say their thoughts remain with other family members grieving this horrific loss.

The deposition also states Smith initially denied having anything to do with the baby’s death but later allegedly confessed to investigators.

“Demarcus admitted to being angry over an argument with a friend and going inside to console M.S., who was crying. M.S kept crying, and Demarcus was still upset, so he shook her. After shaking her, he gave M.S. a bottle and put her to sleep. A short time later, he checked on her, and she was unresponsive,” stated the investigator in the deposition.

Police say Smith lived with the child’s mother along Birmingham Highway. The mother is not a suspect in the case. The couple had no other children.

“The entire police department mourns the loss of baby Maliyah. Our thoughts are with her mother and family as they deal with this excruciating loss,” said Healey.

Smith remains behind bars at the Lee County Detention Facility. He was slated to have his first court appearance late Friday afternoon. We are waiting to hear if he will make a bond in the case. You can read the deposition below:

DEPOSITION: IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF LEE COUNTY, ALABAMA
STATE OF ALABAMA v. DEMARCUS TREIAS SMITH

“On 9/14/2021 at approximately 11:41 AM Opelika Police Department officers responded to East Alabama Medical Center at 2000 Pepperell Parkway, Opelika, Lee County, Alabama in reference to an unresponsive two-month-old baby girl, identified as M. S. Officers met with head nurse (name redacted) who informed officers that the infant was brought into the ER by her father Demarcus Smith. (Nurse) stated multiple nurses and doctors performed lifesaving measures but were unable to revive the infant. The nurse stated Demarcus arrived at the ER, drove around the parking lot, eventually parked, and walked into the ER without urgency. Officer Brandon Phillips, who was at the EAMC at the time also noticed Demarcus walk from the parking lot without urgency while carrying the car seat covered with a blanket. While at the hospital Demarcus met with Detective David Priest and Detective Fred Griffin and provided a written statement. Demarcus stated he said he fed M.S. a bottle then and then laid her down and she went right to sleep. Demarcus began playing video games and checked on M. S. a little while later and noticed that she was not breathing. Smith stated he performed “what little CPR he does know on her” and then drove her to the hospital himself. On 9/15/2021, Detective Priest received a phone call from (a doctor) at the Alabama Department of Forensic Science (ADFS) who stated after performing the autopsy of M.S he was confident that the death would be ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma. Dr. stated M.S. had a subdural hemorrhage of the brain, bilateral optic nerve hemorrhage, healing fractures of the ribs, and minor contusions of the scalp. On 9/16/2021, Det. Priest met with Demarcus, and he agreed to come to the police department for an interview. Demarcus was read his Miranda Rights and waved them. Demarcus admitted to being angry over an argument with a friend and going inside to console M.S., who was crying. M.S. kept crying and Demarcus was still upset so he shook her. After shaking her he gave M.S. a bottle and put her to sleep. A short time later he checked on her and she was unresponsive.”

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