Trial begins for suspect in child's death

TUPELO – The murder trial of Christopher Brandon, accused of killing a 15-month-old child, began Tuesday in Lee County Circuit Court.
Brandon, 30, of Verona is charged with depraved-heart murder for the 2007 death of his live-in girlfriend’s 15-month-old son, Xavier Staples.
Depraved-heart murder is a murder that is not a premeditated act and is committed without any regard for human life. If convicted, Brandon faces life in prison.
Testifying Tuesday were Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson, who took the defendant’s statement after his arrest, and former Verona Police Chief Desiree Kershner. The trial will continue today.
Police said Brandon, 30, called 911 at 1 a.m. on June 11, 2007, telling dispatchers that the baby was not breathing. The child was taken from the North Mississippi Medical Center to Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis, where he died a few hours later.
Said Kershner: “Mr. Brandon told us that the boy fell off the bed and hit his head on a coffee table, but after the autopsy report came in, it showed that the injuries the child sustained were from shaken baby syndrome.”
Cause of death was listed as severe head trauma. Some broken ribs, which were in the process of healing, were also discovered during the autopsy.
Kershner said Brandon was the only person at home with the child at the time of his death. The mother was at work.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

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