The Edmond Sun

January 28, 2013

Murder trial for Edmond man begins

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — After a series of delays, jury selection proceedings are under way in a trial seeking justice for the death of a 2-year-old Edmond boy.

Monday afternoon, Oklahoma County First Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said the selection process was under way and he expected evidence to be presented sometime Tuesday.

In October 2009, Oklahoma County DA David Prater charged Rico Antwoine Berry, of Edmond, with first degree murder in the death of Jolen Babakhani, 2, of Edmond. Prosecutors allege that Berry caused injuries to the toddler’s brain, eyes and body, inflicting mortal wounds that caused the boy’s death.

The state medical examiner ruled Jolen’s death was a homicide, resulting from head trauma, causing a subdural hematoma. A subdural hematoma is a type of blood clot or clots that often result from a skull fracture.

In a previous report, public defender Mark McCormick said he believes Berry is innocent based on the evidence presented to that point and his statements to his defense team. McCormick said he anticipates evidence presented at trial will prove his client’s innocence.

On Oct. 13, police responded to an apartment at 400 E. Danforth Road, in reference to a 2-year-old boy not breathing and being transported to The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, according to court records.

Medical personnel attending to Jolen did not believe based on the extensive bruising and damage to the toddler’s head that the injuries could have been caused accidentally, according to court records. At the hospital, it was learned the toddler did not have any type of brain activity.

Jolen lived at the apartment with his mother. Berry had just moved in the previous day. | 341-2121, ext. 108