Crime

He gave his baby a lollilop. The boy choked to death. Jurors said it was not a crime.

Jermaine Marcell Levy Jr. died June 17, 2018. His father was charged with manslaughter after giving the baby a lollipop, records show. Here the baby is pictured at 2 months old.
Jermaine Marcell Levy Jr. died June 17, 2018. His father was charged with manslaughter after giving the baby a lollipop, records show. Here the baby is pictured at 2 months old. Warnisha Davis/Facebook

A jury has acquitted a Miami man who was charged with manslaughter after his 6-month-old baby son fatally choked on a lollipop.

Jurors agreed late last week with defense lawyers that the death of Jermaine Marcell Levy’s infant was accidental, and not the result of reckless behavior.

“This was a tragic accident that should not have been charged as a crime,” said Miami-Dade Assistant Public Defender Adam Saper, who partners on the case with Abbie Waxman.

“Mr. Levy, a 19-year-old first-time father had his son die in his arms as he tried to resuscitate him on Father’s Day. The death of his son was a horrible tragedy for everyone involved. Thankfully, the jury correctly concluded that he was not guilty for this purely accidental death.”

Levy, now 20, was arrested after police said he kidnapped his infant son, Jermaine Marcell Levy Jr., from the child’s mother, Warnisha Davis, in June 2018. Cops said he punched her in the mouth before taking the child, even though he had never cared for the baby on his own.

The homeless Levy later told police that he took the baby first to his brother’s home, then to his godmother’s home. No one was home. So he took the child to a tent where he was living outside a friend’s house.

Levy had never cared for the boy on his own and took no diapers or food with him — and the child needed formula every four hours, police said At one point, the most he could do was give the child water from a hose at the home, according to the warrant.

According to police, the boy was sucking on the lollipop when Levy fell asleep for about one minute. He awoke to the sound of the child “gasping for air.”

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that the infant died of accidental asphyxia on the lollipop.

Jurors deliberated less than two hours late Thursday in acquitting Levy of manslaughter and kidnapping charges. He was convicted of battery for punching the child’s mother. He remains jailed while awaiting sentencing on that charge.

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David Ovalle covers crime and courts in Miami. A native of San Diego, he graduated from the University of Southern California and joined the Herald in 2002 as a sports reporter.


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