Accused Baby Killer’s Attorneys Seek Mental Illness Defense

Posted on: 4:23 pm, February 26, 2013, by , updated on: 04:29pm, February 26, 2013

MICHAEL PROFFITT

Attorneys for a Rogers man accused of killing a baby boy last summer are seeking a mental illness defense against capital murder charges.

Judge Robin Green suspended court proceedings against Michael Proffitt on Tuesday in Benton County Circuit Court. She ordered the murder suspect to undergo a mental evaluation, in accordance with requests made by defense attorneys according to the Benton County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

Proffitt will undergo evaluation at the Arkansas State Hospital, with an emphasis on IQ testing.

Proffitt’s attorneys announced earlier this month that they are trying to suppress statements made by the suspect to police that they said may incriminate their client.

Proffitt’s next scheduled court date is May 13 in Green’s courtroom in Benton County, according to the Circuit Clerk’s Office.

Tim Buckley, one of Proffitt’s attorneys, said the suspect did not talk to police voluntarily and did not have the intellectual capacity to understand the situation when the suspect told police he shook the 11-month-old boy because he would not stop crying, according to a motion submitted by Buckley to the Benton County Circuit Clerk’s Office last week.

Proffitt, 37, was arrested in June on suspicion of capital murder. His son was the fiancé of the baby’s mother, police said.

During an interview with police May 30, Proffitt was not read his Miranda rights by detectives. The next day, while talking to detectives, the suspect agreed to take a polygraph test the next week. The polygraph test was designed specifically to deceive Proffitt and make him seem guilty, the motion states.

“The situation itself was coercive,” the motion states of Proffitt’s first interview with police. “Defendant was in a small motel room with two police detectives who were aggressively seeking information about a very recent crime.”

The motion goes on to state that Proffitt was intimidated by police.

Proffitt was babysitting the baby at the 8th Street Motel in Rogers when the child was injured, police said. A witness told 5NEWS that when emergency officials took the boy from the motel room, the child’s injuries were evident.

“EMT comes up here and gets the little boy and they hurry up and rush him down, and he is black and blue,” said Viola Harris, 8TH Street Motel front desk worker.

The baby was taken to Mercy Medical Center for treatment. While the baby was in the hospital, the police department began an investigation that included interviews with family members. The baby was later taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, where he died two days later.

Proffitt told police he became frustrated when the child would not stop crying, the affidavit states. Proffitt told officers he became frustrated with the child and shook him about once a month.