The case is dismissed against a 22-year-old father who had been accused of raping and killing his infant daughter. James Saltmarshal was accused of sexually assaulting and murdering his 8-month-old daughter in April. The charges against him were dropped Thursday as the court cleared his name.
The medical examiner tells FOX 2 their original tests were found erroneous.
Detroit man charged with sexual assault, murder of 8-month-old girl
“Your honor at this time the people are moving to dismiss the case in the best interest of justice and without prejudice,” the prosecution said.
Back in April, police were called to an Inkster hotel room where Saltmarshall says Janiyah had stopped breathing. Janiyah later died at the hospital and the medical examiner reported finding trauma to the baby’s head, and rectal tearing. Saltmarshall was charged soon after.
“He was torn up. He said all along he didn’t do it,” said Lillian Diallo, his defense attorney.
She adds that Saltmarshall didn’t find out about his daughter’s death until the charges were read against him.
“He’s having a very difficult time because he could not go to his daughter’s funeral. He does not even know where she is buried right now,” Diallo said.
While Saltmarshall was originally issued a $2 million bond, it was reduced to house arrest after an apparent problem with the first round of forensic testing.
Case dismissed against Detroit man charged with daughter’s murder, sexual assault
“No rape. No shaken baby syndrome. No fractured skull. None of that,” Diallo said.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office told Fox 2 that originally there was compelling evidence from the treating doctors that Janiyah’s death was a homicide.
“The treating emergency medical doctors and other health professionals met with the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office and it was determined that the initial conclusion was erroneous. This caused further investigation and testing to be done resulting in the dismissal of the case,” the office said in a statement.
“You had somebody charged with the most salacious thing you can charge them with. The worst thing — raping and killing his infant daughter — and now it’s a big oops,” Diallo said.
As the infant’s death was ruled accidental. Diallo says Saltmarshall is trying to move forward and explore his civil options.