Man Indicted For Shaking Baby, Causing Permanent Brain Damage

Hunter Berry

A Coos County man was indicted by a grand jury last week on felony charges of violently shaking a 5-month-old infant girl in Whitefield on Feb. 3 and causing lasting brain damage.

Hunter Berry, 22, who had been living at the Whitefield apartment with the infant’s mother and is not the father, was indicted at Coos Superior Court on Sept. 9 on two Class A felony counts of first-degree assault causing serious bodily injury.

The indictments, released Tuesday, charge Berry with “recklessly” causing serious bodily injury to the infant “when he held her and rapidly moved her in a back-and-forth motion” resulting in the girl suffering a spinal subdural hematoma, a type of bleeding from a traumatic brain injury.

The second indictment charges him with acting with “extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he committed the act of holding her and rapidly shaking her back and forth, contributing to the baby “suffering abusive head trauma in the form of retinal bleeding, brain swelling and infarction, and damage to the occipital brain lobe, said injuries resulting in brain damage or physical disability that is likely to be permanent.”

In New Hampshire, a Class A felony charge carries a maximum New Hampshire Prison sentence of 7 1/2 to 15 years.

Berry, who had previously been arrested for assault against the girl’s mother in a separate incident, was arrested a few days after the incident in Apt. 5 at 30 Elm St. in Whitefield, at a family member’s residence in Stewartstown, after police began their investigation

That month, he was denied bail and ordered held at the Coos County House of Corrections after the judge deemed him a flight risk and danger to the community.

According to the Coos Superior Court bail order, Berry “has no employment, is potential danger to others, has relatives out of state, has a domestic violence arrest record, and reckless operation arrest record; and due to severity of alleged offense, is deemed a flight risk and danger to himself and/or others.”

After Berry’s arrest, Whitefield Police Chief Ed Samson said the original call came into Whitefield police, and based on the nature of the case, was turned over to state police.

Called up to Whitefield to investigate was the state’s Major Crime Unit.

The initial contact call about the incident came from the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families, he said.

According to police records, Berry was arrested in Whitefield in December 2019 on a charge of domestic violence simple assault at the 30 Elm St. apartment, for an incident that did not involve the infant.

He later pleaded guilty to the simple assault charge.

On Wednesday, Coos County Attorney John McCormick said he is not liberty to discuss details of the case at the present time.

“I will say that in general we are seeing more cases alleging abuse against infants,” said McCormick.

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