WELCH – After deliberating for more than an hour, a McDowell County jury found an Isaban resident not guilty Tuesday of causing the September 2013 death of his infant son.

After hearing two days of testimony, the jury started deliberations in the case of Anthony Hart, 25, of Isaban. Hart was charged with the Sept. 9, 2013 death of his 4-month-old infant son, who had been born two months premature. He was charged with one count of child abuse resulting in death and one count of child neglect resulting in death.

The jury received the case at approximately 4:15 p.m. By 5:30 p.m., they returned a verdict of not guilty, according to Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish.

The trial was originally set for March 16, but the trial was postponed when the defense counsel told the court that an expert witness would not be available at that time. McDowell County Circuit Court Judge Rudolph J. “Rick” Murensky II rescheduled the trial to begin Monday.

An investigation began when Trooper C.A. Dunn, of the Welch Detachment of the West Virginia State Police was called out at 2:35 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2013 by emergency services personnel who were transporting the unresponsive infant to Welch Community Hospital. At first, authorities thought the infant was from neighboring Mingo County, but it was soon determined that he had lived in McDowell County.

Dunn obtained a statement from the infant’s mother and learned that she was not in the house at the time the infant was injured. However, Hart gave conflicting statements regarding the incident, prompting Dunn to visit family’s home, according to previous reports.

Dr. Nabila Haikal with the State Medical Examiners Office conducted an autopsy and reported that the infant had suffered a “closed head injury” that cause internal bleeding, which led to brain swelling. Haikal also found “multiple soft tissue injuries of different ages,” and found that underlying abuse and non-accidental causes had inflicted the injuries, according to previous reports.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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