Boyfriend to face new child abuse charges after baby found beaten to death



Posted on September 29, 2010 at 7:43 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 29 at 6:08 PM

SPOKANE -- A Spokane man who admitted to beating his girlfriend's baby son to death will face additional child abuse charges for a separate case.

Spokane Police were called to an apartment near Market and Everett around 5:00 p.m. Tuesday night when the mother of the child called 911 to say her son was unresponsive.

Rebecca McCollough says she left the 1-year-old baby and her 4-year-old son with her boyfriend James Cooley, 22, in their apartment. When she came back, Cooley told her the 4-year-old fell off the couch and his lip was bleeding and that the baby was asleep.

After Cooley left the apartment, she says the 4-year-old told her Cooley punched him in the face and threw him in the shower. The boy said that made the baby cry and Cooley started hitting the baby.

Hearing that, Rebecca said she ran into the baby's room and found him not breathing. She said her family members tried CPR but couldn't revive him.

"I had nothing that could give me a heads up.  It's just like he snapped," said Rebecca.

Police say Cooley confessed to the killing. They also say Cooley is being investigated in a separate child abuse case from earlier this year in May at 2700 West 14th St in Spokane. In that incident, police believe Cooley shook a 6-month-old baby, causing the baby to lose his eyesight and suffer mental retardation.

Investigators determined the assault on that infant occurred up to 18 hours before the police report was made, but detectives could not develop probable cause to arrest Cooley. Detectives also learned Cooley had assaulted the 6-month-old baby a week prior to the May incident.

Cooley will now face First Degree Murder charges for the death of the 1-year-old, and detectives plan to charge him with two counts of 1st Degree Assault from the May incidents, as well as a felony assault charge from yesterday’s assault of the 4 year old boy.

The mother tells KREM 2 News she had no idea Cooley had a violent side. She says he was always loving toward the children and acted like a family man. She says her family is now in shock and devastated over what happened.

"My poor baby was beaten so bad.  I will never forget that image," said Rebecca.

McCollough says she did not know about the previous child abuse case until she confronted Cooley's family members about it after Tuesday's incident.