The son of a well-known criminal defense attorney in New Orleans was arrested Monday. Police said he admitted to shaking his crying child at his home in Gentilly until the boy died Sunday.
Homicide detectives booked 20-year-old Justice Willard Brown Sr. on a count of second-degree murder.
Brown’s father, lawyer Willard Brown, said his son is innocent.
“They’re trying to say my son admitted to it. He did not,” said the elder Brown, who ran for a seat on the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court bench in 2008.
Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell found probable cause for the murder count and set Brown’s bail at $125,000 on Tuesday.
Police said Brown admitted on tape to shaking his 2-month-old infant son, Justice Willard Brown Jr., shortly before the boy stopped breathing.
Police said they arrived at Brown’s residence in the 5300 block of St. Anthony Avenue about 12:30 p.m. Sunday and found the boy dead. The next day, according to a warrant drawn up by homicide Detective Jana Thompson, Brown came to police headquarters of his own accord to offer a statement.
Police said Brown provided “several versions” of what happened.
“Eventually he admitted to shaking the 2-month-old infant and that the infant fell to the floor,” according to the warrant. “When the infant stopped crying, Mr. Brown Sr. placed the child back into the bed and left the residence.”
The child was later found not breathing by a relative, police said. He was pronounced dead on the scene about 12:40 p.m.
Willard Brown disputed the New Orleans Police Department’s claim that his son admitted on tape to shaking the child.
Willard Brown said investigators told him the baby had injuries from fractured ribs that were weeks old, and he is looking into where the injuries came from.
“This is my baby boy,” he said of his son. “I’m going to turn over every stone. Something is just not right.”
The younger Brown remained in jail Monday. His next court date is set for March 22.