Father accused of killing four-week-old daughter appears in court
The father of four-week-old Olivia Dunton faced a judge for the first time Tuesday.
Ivan Dunton was charged with criminal homicide and aggravated child abuse after he confessed to police that shook Olivia and accidentally kicked the car seat she was in down concrete stairs.
The hearing Tuesday lasted about two hours.
Dunton's family, Olivia's mother and her family were all inside the courtroom. They watched as Dunton's attorney tried to prove this was an accident caused by Dunton accidentally kicking Olivia's car seat. On the other side, the prosecutor tried to prove Dunton's frustration and shaking of Olivia was to blame.
Moments after Dunton was escorted into Judge Gerald Webb's courtroom, a major crimes investigator testified. He helped interview Dunton, after Olivia was found dead. That interview was recorded and shared in court.
“Show us how you held her,” a Chattanooga police detective said.
“I held her like this. She was lying there,” Dunton explained before imitated Olivia’s cries. “I was like oh my god Olivia please stop crying, please. Please.”
Dunton told police he was frustrated after Olivia's mother left the house. He says he shook Olivia at least four times, before laying her down in a bassinet.
As the video continued, Dunton explained to detectives that after he shook Olivia he knew he had done something wrong, but didn’t think anything was wrong with Olivia so he didn’t seek medical attention.
“It wasn’t on my mind,” he said. “I was panicking.”
About five minutes later, he said he put her into a car seat to leave. He says he sat Olivia down midway down the stairs, when his son started crying. Moments later, Olivia fell out of the car seat and down the stairs. Detectives determined there were 13 steps total made up of concrete and metal.
“When I ran up them steps I could've bumped it with my leg,” Dunton told detectives.
When a detective asked if Dunton kicked the car seat out of frustration, he replied, “No man. I didn't do that out of frustration.
Dr. James Metcalfe, the Hamilton County Medical Examiner who performed Olivia's autopsy says, she was malnourished and dehydrated. He explained Olivia suffered from broken ribs and blunt force injuries to her chest, which he explained would have resulted from being squeezed. He added Olivia’s skull was fractured and had “deep bruising on her brain.” He explained the injuries to her head were inflicted.
“Someone did this to the baby,” Dr. Metcalfe said.
When Dunton’s attorney asked Dr. Metcalfe if there was a possibility Olivia’s injuries could have resulted from falling down the stairs, he said “no.”
Dr. Metcalfe then pointed out Olivia suffered a blunt force injury to the head five to seven days before she died, which he said was healing. However, he could not confirm what may have caused it.
“Subdural Hematoma had happened before,” he said.
Judge Webb sent Dunton’s case to a grand jury.
Dunton’s bond was set at $2 million for criminal homicide and $1 million for aggravated child abuse.