McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 13, 2013

Landry sentences in connection with infant death

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — A Hartshorne man has been sentenced in connection with the death of an infant in 2011.

Damon W. Landry, 37, had originally been charged with first degree murder in the June 2011 death of Kalisha Brown, an infant who was 4 months old at the time.

On a motion of the District 18 District Attorney’s office, the charge was reduced to first degree manslaughter in December.

Landry pleaded guilty in Pittsburg County District Court on Dec. 18, 2012, to the reduced charge of first degree manslaughter.

Associate District Judge James Bland sentenced Landry to 35 years in Oklahoma Department of Corrections custody, with the last 10 years suspended. Landry is also to be given credit for time served from June 6, 2011, through Nov. 30, 2011.

The victim’s family approved the plea agreement and sentence and was present in open court for the plea and sentencing, according to court records.

Under the plea agreement, the 35 year sentence for first degree manslaughter is to be served consecutively, or after, another sentence is completed in a 2004 case, court records state.

In that case, Landry had been convicted of larceny of an auto and had been sentenced to 15 years with the last 8 years suspended, according to court records.

“The sentence was revoked on July 2, 2009, for six months, with the balance of the suspended sentence to remain intact,” court records state.

The information filed in the case in 2011 alleges that Landry had injured the child with blunt force trauma to the head, causing a complex skull fracture which resulted in mortal wounds, which caused the child to die, according to the original murder charge.

A probable cause affidavit filed by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent John Jones in June 2011, outlined the state’s allegations in the case.

Jones said in the affidavit that the child arrived by ambulance at the McAlester Regional Health Center on June 2, 2011. The child was unresponsive and was transported to St. Francis Children’s Hospital in Tulsa, the affidavit states.

In the affidavit, Jones said he had interviewed Teresa Sweet, identified as the child’s grandmother. He said she told him that on the day the child was taken to the hospital, she had left for work around 1:50 p.m. Around 3:30 she had been called by Landry, who was identified in the 2011 affidavit as her boyfriend.

“Landry said he had called an ambulance because Brown wasn’t breathing,” Jones said in the affidavit. He said no other adults had been with the child, other than Landry, when Sweet had gone to work.

In an initial interview conducted on June 2, 2011, Landry told Jones that the child had been in her swing  when he heard her whimpering and saw a yellow substance coming out of her nose, followed by a gasp, the affidavit states.

Landry said he placed the child on the floor, where he tried to administer CPR and gave her chest compressions, the affidavit states.

“Landry was only concerned about having pressed too hard on Brown’s chest when he gave the compressions,” Jones said in the affidavit.

Jones’ affidavit said the investigation showed that a doctor at St. Francis Hospital found extreme retinal hemorrhages in both the infant’s eyes and detached retinas.

The doctor believed this occurred through violent shaking of the child, according to the affidavit.

“There were massive amounts of blood and swelling on Brown’s brain,” the affidavit states. The doctor said the injuries were caused within a matter of minutes, up to an hour, before the child arrived at the McAlester hospital, according to the affidavit.

The child was declared brain dead on June 5 at the Tulsa hospital and died on June 6, 2011, according to court records.

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