2011-06-10 / Top Stories

Baby-Shaker Sentenced To 18 Years

A 25-year-old Queens man who admitted to violently shaking his crying infant son and causing his death, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown identified the defendant as Saul Cortez, 25, of 87-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Arverne. Cortez pleaded guilty last month to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Butcher, who today sentenced the defendant to a determinate term of 18 years in prison.

Brown said, “Shaken Baby Syndrome is the leading cause of child abuse deaths each year. Its victims are innocent and helpless children, often injured by those charged to protect them. These smallest victims are often impaired for life or killed. Caregivers of children who cry should heed the important message that these cases unfortunately bring to our attention – normal babies cry. There are many solutions to deal with a crying baby – shaking is not one of them. Never, under any circumstances, should a person shake a baby.”

The District Attorney continued, “In this particular case, the defendant’s actions denied his own son the chance to live out his life. Under the circumstances, the lengthy prison sentence imposed today is more than warranted.”

Brown added that, in pleading guilty, Cortez admitted that he was home alone with his eight-month-old son, Mario Patrice, and his two-year-old daughter, on the night of April 5, 2010, and that he became frustrated and angry because the baby was crying and repeatedly shook the baby and forcefully and repeatedly punched him in the back.

When his wife returned home, Cortez was on the phone calling for help and the baby was unresponsive, limp and not breathing. The eight-month-old baby was subsequently admitted to Schneider Children’s Hospital (now Cohen Children’s Medical Center) and diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome when tests revealed subdural bleeding, brain injury, retinal hemorrhages, laceration to the liver and healing and acute rib fractures.

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