JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 26-year-old man is facing a murder charge after police said he caused the death last year of a 2-month-old boy in his care.
Jerrontra White is charged with second-degree murder in the abuse death of the baby, who was left in White’s care in November in a room at the Motel 6, where he was living alone.
Police said White had been working all night as a commercial janitor the night before and hadn't had any sleep when he took custody of the baby from the child's mother.
When the mother returned, she could immediately see the little boy was in distress and moaning. White's arrest report said the child was unable to maintain eye contact and was “muscularly rigid.”
Police said White “tried to downplay” the symptoms and said “nothing unusual had happened.”
But the mother took the boy to an emergency room. Doctors found he had a skull fracture and brain swelling -- injuries consistent with abusive trauma, according to the report.
The child died at the hospital five days later.
A man who was staying at the motel at the time remembered a lot of commotion from the room.
“It’s just sad to hear that happened to the child,” said the man, who asked not to be named. “I can’t imagine what the parent must be going through to be honest -- to know that their child is no longer here."
White at first told police the child fell from his grip, but he eventually made other statements that were redacted from his arrest report.
The report does indicate that White admitted to a “violent event” and that he didn't seek medical attention for the baby after it happened but instead put him to bed.
The medical examiner ruled the baby’s death a homicide by blunt force trauma in February, and White was arrested.
White is a registered sex offender who pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted sexual battery when he was 16 years old and was sentenced to four years in prison. He violated probation several times and went back to prison in 2018. He was released that same year.