Advertisement

Sitter Will Stand Trial in Infant’s Death : Courts: A judge decides there is sufficient evidence to try Debra Suzanne Cummings on a charge she killed a 9-month-old baby left in her care.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 32-year-old Reseda baby-sitter and PTA president was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on a charge she killed a 9-month-old baby who died of a head injury he suffered while under her care.

After a preliminary hearing in Van Nuys Municipal Court, Judge Leslie Ann Dunn ruled that the prosecution had presented sufficient evidence to hold Debra Suzanne Cummings for trial on one count of murder in the June 16 death of Kevin Young.

Cummings, 32, president of the PTA at Shirley Avenue Elementary School in Reseda, is also under investigation in the death of another baby, who died of an apparent seizure while in her care, but has not been charged in that case. Cummings sat quietly in court as Kevin’s mother, Toni Majoy-Young, testified that Cummings called her at work on June 15 and told her to come pick up her son. Majoy-Young said Cummings told her the baby had fallen and bumped his head on a coffee table in her house.

Majoy-Young tearfully testified that her baby died the next day.

Advertisement

Deputy Medical Examiner Solomon Riley, who conducted an autopsy on Kevin, testified under questioning by Deputy Dist. Atty. Carol Fisch that Kevin died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries to the head and also suffered an injury to the inside of the abdominal cavity.

Asked by Fisch if the baby could have suffered the fatal injuries in a fall against a coffee table, Riley responded it “would require a fall from a tremendous height--two stories, or maybe more.”

Cummings, who is free on $100,000 bail, sat quietly during the court proceedings, which were attended by nearly two dozen of her relatives and friends. Her attorney, Joe Ingber, declined comment.

Cummings is also under investigation in connection with the death last March of 14-month-old Matthew Cooley of Reseda, who lost consciousness while at a park with Cummings. His doctor listed the cause of death as an apparent seizure, but the boy’s mother told police she became suspicious because the boy had seizures only in Cummings’ presence.

Advertisement

The coroner’s office, which investigates all unnatural deaths in the county, did not perform an autopsy because the boy’s doctor listed the cause of death as a seizure due to natural causes, prosecutors said. A private autopsy was performed by hospital officials, but the results were inconclusive.

Fisch said the district attorney’s office has asked the coroner’s office to examine tissue samples from the Cooley baby’s brain in a further search for evidence.

The district attorney’s office has received permission from the boy’s mother to exhume his body if necessary, Fisch added.


Advertisement