Father charged with murder in 4-month-old Coles County boy's death

Father charged with murder in 4-month-old Coles County boy's death

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CHARLESTON — Autopsy results indicating a 4-month-old Lerna boy was beaten to death led to charges of first-degree murder against the boy's father on Tuesday.

The father, Isaac M. Currey, could face a possible life sentence in prison if convicted. Currey was arrested Tuesday after the boy was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at their Lerna residence the previous day, according to information from the Coles County Sheriff's Office.

Currey, 21, told investigating sheriff's deputies that the boy was injured when he dropped the child while taking him out of a bathtub on Sunday, according to case records. The boy's mother wasn't home at the time, the records say.

However, during a court hearing for Currey on Tuesday, State's Attorney Jesse Danley said the pathologist who performed the autopsy indicated it was "impossible" for the boy's injuries to have been from a fall.

The pathologist said the autopsy showed it was "very clear" that the boy was hit by a fist or other blunt object, Danley said.

Also, the pathologist told sheriff's office detectives that there was bleeding on the boy's brain and there were several skull fractures, according to a sheriff's office report.

Currey appeared in court in jail custody Tuesday, when Circuit Judge Mitchell Shick set his bond at a level that would require $50,000 to be posted for release.

That was the bond amount Danley requested, which he said he based on the seriousness of the charges and indications of violent behavior by Currey in the past.

Shelby County court records show orders of protection cases and a domestic battery charge were filed against Currey earlier this year when he and his wife lived in that county. They were all later dismissed.

On Tuesday, Shick appointed county Public Defender Anthony Ortega to represent Currey on the murder charges. During the hearing, Ortega said he recognized "the seriousness of these charges" but requested a lower bond amount.

Ortega declined to comment after the hearing, noting that he had just been appointed to the case. 

Also according to the sheriff's office report, the boy's mother told officers she suspected that Currey injured the boy and that he'd abused her in the past.

Shick scheduled a preliminary hearing for Jan. 13.

A conviction for first-degree murder requires a prison sentence of at least 20 years. The maximum is 60 years unless certain factors are in place, as alleged in Currey's case.

The charges against Currey accuse him of showing "exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior." That would make him eligible for up to a life prison term if the factor is proven at trial.

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