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Dietrich Williams

Man who injured baby given 12-year prison term

By Howard B. Owens

Dietrich Williams, who admitted in December that he abused an infant left in his care last summer, was sent to state prison by Judge Robert C. Noonan yesterday.

Williams was given a 12-year prison term.

The baby suffered severe head trauma after he shook the little girl and slammed her head against a hard surface in what was apparently an attempt to quiet her down.

Williams was reportedly acting as a babysitter for his girlfriend, whom he was staying with at the time.

A week before Williams entered his guilty plea, the little girl's mother wrote to The Batavian and said the child, who has needed much therapy and is likely to need help for many, many years, is doing much better.

Williams was originally charged with assault 1st, which carried a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, but in order to facilitate a plea without a trial, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman accepted a guilty plea to attempted assault 1st, which carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in State Prison. The minimum sentence available to Noonan was three and a half years.

As part of his guilty plea, Williams had to admit to the factual circumstances of the case.

(WTBA contributed to this report.)

'Shaken baby' defendant pleads guilty to attempted assault

By Howard B. Owens

A Batavia man accused of shaking a baby and hitting the infant's head on a hard surface, pled guilty this afternoon to one count of attempted assault in the 1st degree.

Dietrich Williams faces a sentence of three-and-a-half  to 15 years in prison, said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, as part of a plea agreement.

Williams was charged with assault in the 1st degree and reckless endangerment of a child.

"Rather than take a chance on the more serious charge, we decided to get a plea on the Class C violent felony and give the judge the latitude to sentence him up to 15 years," Friedman said.

The higher class felony carried a maximum sentence of 25 years.

The baby is doing much better, according to the mother, who recently e-mailed The Batavian about the child's condition.

Statements made by defendant in shaken baby case can be used in court

By Howard B. Owens

Statements made by Dietrich Williams to State Police during an investigation into a shaken baby case in June can be used at his trial, Judge Robert Noonan ruled this morning.

Williams, currently held in Genesee County Jail, is charged with assault in the first degree and reckless assault of a child.

The content and nature of his statements were not discussed in court today, but he spent nearly eight hours in State Police custody June 25, after being picked up at a residence he shared with his girlfriend at 14 Hutchins Place.

The baby's name is Mariah and she was reportedly critically injured. Both Defense Attorney Jerry Ader and District Attorney Larry Friedman are waiting for the hospital to produce the baby's medical records for evidentiary review.

Williams is accused of shaking the baby and hitting Mariah's head against a hard object.

Shaken Baby Syndrome has come under new research scrutiny recently, and researchers suggest that the baby's head hitting a hard object may be a key element to any crime.

In his ruling, Judge Noonan said that Williams was made fully aware of his rights and had every opportunity to request an attorney or to cut off questioning. There was nothing improper about the State Police agent's questioning, Noonan said.

State Police investigators who specialize in violent crimes assisted in the investigation.

Defendant in shaken baby case appeared in court today

By Howard B. Owens

Dietrich Williams, accused of shaking a baby and seriously injuring the child, has been writing letters to Judge Robert Noonan, Noonan revealed in court today.

The letters deal with issues related to his case and his potential sentence, Noonan said.

"I think communications would be better coming from you rather than your client," Noonan told Defense Attorney Jerry Ader.

Noonan than provided copies of the letters to Ader and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

Williams was in court because his attorney has filed a series of motions designed to test the legitimacy of the case against Williams. The fairly standard motions ask Judge Noonan to determine if the case presented by the People to the Grand Jury was sufficient and challenge the use of any post-arrest statements made Williams at a trial.

Ader is also asking for copies of medical reports from the hospital about the nature of the injuries to the baby.

"This is critical evidence as to what the injuries where and whether they were caused by my client," Ader said.

Friedman said his office hasn't received the records either and he said he would prepare a subpoena to have the records produced for the proceedings.

The case was continued to Sept. 24, when Judge Noonan will hear oral arguments regarding the admissibility of any statements Williams made.

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