Alibi defense filed in baby abuse case

LEWISTOWN – The defense attorney representing a man charged with physically abusing an 11-month-old boy recently filed an alibi defense notice with the court.

Robert E. Grove, 30, was present for a hearing on Wednesday in the Mifflin County Court of Common Pleas to address some issues brought before the court by his attorney.

Grove, along with co-defendant Brittney L. Marshall, 22, are charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, recklessly endangering another person and simple assault.

Prior to the hearing, Matt McClenahen said the last of the injuries sustained by the infant, a skull fracture, occurred during a time period when his client was not around and Marshall was the only adult with the children. This is the focus of his alibi defense notice.

In addition, McClenahen asserts the other injuries to the infant, which are alleged to have occurred at various stages throughout his young life, happened when his client was not with the child.

According to court documents, police responded to the emergency room at Lewistown Hospital on July 4, 2012, for an alleged child abuse case. The 11-month-old was subsequently transferred to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, police said.

According to court documents, police were advised by a doctor at Geisinger that the infant sustained his injuries as the result of abuse. Police were told the infant had skull fractures, and three old healing fractures around his collar bone, shoulder blade and shin, as well as a bite mark caused by an adult. The doctor also told police it appeared the infant had been struck with a rectangular object on some parts of his body.

All told, the doctor documented 41 bruises on the infant, police said.

Both Grove and Marshall deny hurting the 11-month-old boy, court documents indicate.

During Wednesday’s hearing, McClenahen said his client was eligible for nominal bail at this stage of his incarceration.

President Judge Timothy S. Searer set Grove’s bail at $1,000 unsecured and he is to have no contact with the child, who is currently in foster care. Marshall also remains free on unsecured bail at this time.

McClenahen also addressed a recently filed motion which asks the court to grant a request to admit evidence of Marshall’s alleged prior bad behavior, including ongoing abuse of her two children.

“We don’t contest the injuries, only who inflicted the injuries,” McClenahen said.

“We would have witnesses testify about violent acts … (Marshall) has a long history of abusing both her children,” he added.

No immediate ruling was made by Searer and the motion will most likely be addressed during a yet to be scheduled pretrial conference.

McClenahen said this case is defensible and his client fully intends to fight the charges.