Garrigus

Garrigus

Grayson County District Court on Thursday found probable cause to send the case against James Garrigus, a Leitchfield man charged with murder in relation to the death of his girlfriend's infant son, to the Grayson County grand jury.

In a preliminary hearing presided over by District Judge Harold Goff, Kentucky State Police Detective Travis Sturgill presented the evidence his agency has gathered in the recent weeks and underwent questioning by Grayson County Attorney Clay Ratley and Elizabethtown defense attorney Erin Hartman, who represented Garrigus on behalf of the Public Defender's Office.

The case stems from an incident on Thursday, Dec. 20 at Garrigus's mother's residence on Clark School Road in Clarkson when he allegedly physically abused his girlfriend's 1-year-old son.

Sturgill testified that, according to witness statements provided by Garrigus's two biological children, one 3 years old and the other 5 years old, Garrigus, allegedly spanked the infant, whom was not Garrigus's biological child, on his buttocks before taking him into his bedroom, closing the door, and striking him hard again. Garrigus then returned with the child to the kitchen, and the child appeared to be visibly suffering from some sort of head trauma.

As the child's condition worsened, he then transported him to Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center. The high rate of speed at which he was driving to the hospital prompted the KSP's response, and the investigation commenced from there at 11:55 a.m., Sturgill said.

As Sturgill read the witness statements aloud in court, Garrigus shook his head.

The infant was later transported to Norton Children's Hospital in Louisville where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries on Friday, Dec. 21.

It has not been determined at what time the child sustained his injuries. This information is expected to be made available when the Medical Examiner's final report is completed in the coming weeks.

However, in response to Ratley's questioning, Sturgill said that the KSP's investigation has determined that no other adults were in the residence at the time of the incident, and the two juveniles would have been unable to prevent the alleged assault from occuring.

According to Sturgill, Garrigus told Kentucky State Trooper Brandon Brooks at Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center that he did not know what had happened to the infant. After hospital personnel reported that the child's injuries appeared to have been the result of child abuse, Garrigus was brought in for questioning.

Later, when he was questioned by KSP Detective Mike Cook at the Leitchfield Police Department, Garrigus denied inflicting any injuries upon the child and said he had fallen out of bed. Garrigus had been watching the three children, all of whom share the same mother, after she had completed a shift at work and returned to her home in Cloverport, Kentucky.

On Friday morning, Dec. 21 at 2:50 a.m., Garrigus was initially arrested and charged with one count of first-degree assault and was lodged in the Grayson County Detention Center.

In a later interview, Garrigus told Cook that he had become upset and pushed in the infant into a table; however, this was ruled medically inconsistent with the child's injuries by Dr. Jeffrey Springer of the State Medical Examiner's Office following an autopsy performed on Sunday, Dec. 23, Sturgill said.

The preliminary diagnosis of the autopsy ruled the child's death a homicide, and, on the afternoon of Dec. 23, KSP Post 4 detectives charged Garrigus with one count of murder.

Sturgill said that, to his knowledge, Garrigus did not appear to have been under the influence at the time of the incident.

The case against Garrigus will be presented to the Grayson County grand jury for indictment consideration on Monday. He remains lodged in the Grayson County Detention Center.