A jury on Thursday convicted Corduray Scott of killing his 3-month-old son but absolved him of committing murder with malice.
The verdict followed three days of testimony that mixed scientific evidence of child abuse with character witnesses swearing that Scott would never hurt a child.
Superior Court Judge Sheryl Jolly said Scott showed no acceptance of responsibility and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole after the jury found him
guilty of felony murder and one count of cruelty to children in the second degree.
“This child for 3½ months suffered severely at your hands either because you didn’t know what you were doing or you didn’t care,” Jolly said. “It’s not my place to guess.”
Scott was indicted on charges of felony and malice murder and four counts of second-degree cruelty to children after Corduray Scott Jr. died Jan. 21, 2010.
The state’s case was built around the testimony of two Medical College of Georgia pediatricians who treated the infant when he was admitted with seizures Jan. 18, 2010.
The doctors testified that the child was basically brain dead and that they began examining him for other signs of abuse.
An autopsy performed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed what they said were the classic signs of abuse: bleeding brain, bleeding in the eyes and evidence of older injuries, including a skull fracture and nine broken ribs.
In an interview with Richmond County sheriff’s Investigator Sean Cochran, Scott admitted to jumping with the child in his arms to comfort him and listed four other incidents in which the child could have been hurt. Those admissions were the basis for the indictment.
Defense attorneys Steve Schmutz and David Aylor told jurors those admissions were coerced and the result of repeated questioning after six denials from Scott.
They also emphasized that Scott and the baby’s mother, Shakeila Jones, were unemployed with no car and lived together in a small apartment. All four of the incidents of alleged child cruelty occurred
with the mother in the home, they said.
Jurors convicted Scott of the incident in which the child fell over onto a couch cushion and couldn’t breathe. For that, he received 10 years consecutive to the life sentence. They acquitted him of three other alleged incidents that involved squeezing the child until his ribs cracked, slamming the child’s head against a door frame and allowing the child to fall off a bed.
After the verdict, Scott’s mother, Shawnece Scott, said her son might be guilty of some form of neglect, but not murder.
“The world is throwing away a great asset,” she said.