PITT COUNTY - As deputies continue to investigate a Pitt County father accused of murdering his 5-month-old son, the baby's mother is defending the suspect.
Deputies have charged 28-year-old Johnathan Dwayne Brooks, of Mandy Drive, with an open count of murder in the death of his 5-month-old son, Ayden. In a news conference Thursday morning, Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks said the baby died of a non-accidental injury to the head in July.
But the mother of the infant, Karen Pearman, is standing by the suspect, who is her fiancé. She told NewsChannel 12 Brooks was a good father who did nothing wrong.
"John cared for that baby. John bathed that baby. He fed that baby. He nurtured that baby. He played with that baby. He did everything that a responsible parent should do," Pearman said. "I'm going to fight to the end to do what I have to do to clear John's name because John did not murder our son like he is being accused of doing."
According to Sheriff Elks, deputies responded to Brooks' home on July 14 because of a call about his infant son not breathing. Brooks said he found his baby unresponsive and called 911. The mother was at work at the time, Sheriff Elks said.
Sheriff Elks said EMS workers were able to revive the 5-month-old boy. But the baby was taken off life support at Vidant Medical Center on July 15, and died a short time later.
Deputies requested help from the Pitt County Medical Examiner's Office. After two months of investigating, it was determined that the infant's death from head trauma was not accidental, Sheriff Elks said.
This was not the first time the 5-month-old boy suffered suspicious injuries, Sheriff Elks added. Three weeks prior to his death, the baby stopped breathing and vomited, forcing him to get medical care.
Pearman said she was with Ayden the first time he stopped breathing. She said she and Brooks immediately took their son to the doctor, and was told the breathing issues may have stemmed from a gastrointestinal problem or a heart murmur.
Brooks was arrested at about 6 p.m. Wednesday. During his court appearance Thursday morning, his bond was set at $2 million.
"Well, that's basically saying you're going to spend your time in jail," Pearman reacted.
Pearman said she does not believe the bond should be that high because Brooks has no prior criminal record, and even worked as a detention officer in Montgomery County.
"Ayden wouldn't want to see his dad going through this," Pearman said.
Brooks was given a court-appointed attorney. His next appearance is scheduled for Oct. 3.