A Pennsylvania father has been charged with homicide after police say he admitted to beating his four-month-old daughter to death because she would not stop crying.
Joseph ‘Joe’ Gazzam, 30, initially told officers the baby had fallen out of bed at their Mt. Lebanon home on Sunday.
However, the Allegheny County Police say Gazzam changed his story on Monday and confessed to the killing after an autopsy showed Victoria Gazzam had a laundry-list of injuries and broken bones.
Savage attack: Joseph ‘Joe’ Gazzam, 30 (left), has been charged with homicide in the beating death of his four-month-old daughter, Victoria Gazzam (right)
After initially lying to police that the baby had fallen out of bed, Gazzam (pictured above with the baby) confessed to repeatedly hitting her with a closed fist
Brutalized: Autopsy found the newborn suffered a brain bleed; lacerated heart vessel; lacerated left kidney; liver contusion; multiple bruises; bleeding behind the eyes
According to a press release from police, officers responded to a home in the 500 block of Osage Road in Mt Lebanon just after 12.20pm on Sunday after getting a 911 call about an unresponsive child.
Baby Victoria was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The next day, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office completed the autopsy, which determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head and trunk, and ruled the manner of death a homicide.
Gazzam told police he got angry because his baby girl (pictured) was acting ‘fussy’ and would not stop crying
Following a police investigation, Gazzam was arrested on charges of homicide, recklessly endangering another person, and endangering the welfare of a child.
On Sunday morning, Gazzam was left in charge of his baby daughter while her mother, Kayla Walter, went to work at a restaurant at around 7am, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
During his initial interview, Gazzam told police the infant woke up at around 10.30am, at which time he changed her diaper and gave her baby formula.
The father and daughter later went to take a nap on the bed together, and when he woke up shortly after noon, he found the child lying face down on the floor.
However, after the medical examiner released the autopsy report showing that baby Victoria suffered injuries that could not have been caused by a fall from a mattress that was 2 feet, 2 inches above a carpeted floor, including a brain bleed; lacerated heart vessel; lacerated left kidney; liver contusion; multiple bruises to the back and head; bleeding behind the eyes and three fractured ribs, Gazzam offered a different narrative.
The 30-year-old former US Army truck driver confessed to repeatedly punching the newborn baby with a closed first because she was ‘fussy’ and would not stop crying or go back to sleep, which made him ‘angry.’
Victoria was beaten while her mother, Kayla Walters (pictured left and right) was at work. The woman works as a waitress
Gazzam and Walters (pictured during her pregnancy) have been together for two years
A criminal complaint quoted Gazzam as telling police that his daughter ‘stopped breathing and her eyes rolled back in the head,’ at which point he called 911.
Records indicate that Gazzam previously had been arrested for DUI incidents and public drunkenness.
Gazzam is being held in the county jail pending his arraignment.