(SALEM) - Judge Larry Medlock entered a not guilty plea Wednesday morning on behave of 24-year-old James "Jamie" Lykins, of Salem who is charged in the death of 8-month-old Leelan Crane.
While Lykins was in court, the Crain family was gathering across town mourning Leelan's death.
Leelan died early Sunday morning and Lykins was arrested on a warrant in connection with the child's death Monday.
Leelan was taken to St. Vincent Salem Hospital Saturday night after being found bruised, not breathing well and semi-conscious. The baby was taken by helicopter to Kosiar Children's Hospital where he died.
According to an autopsy report Leelan died from blunt force trauma to the head and had various levels of bruising and other signs of abuse.
Lykins is accused of battery resulting in death and neglect of a dependent. If found guilty Lykins could be sentenced up to 50 years on each charge. Lykins was appointed a public defender and his next hearing was scheduled for November 14 with a trial date of April 1.
The infant's mother, Casey Crain, told police Lykins was angry that Leelan was crying Saturday evening. She told police she attempted to intervene as Lykins took Leelan into the bedroom to put him down for a nap, but he told her he would take care of it. She said Lykins turned the radio up very high in the room, but she could still hear her son crying continuously for 45 minutes before the room went silent. Later, she went in to check on him and found Leelan severely bruised, not breathing properly and only semiconscious.
Police interviewed two friends of the couple who had arrived at the house later to go fishing. Micheel Livingston said she noticed immediately Leelan needed medical attention, but Lykins didn't want to take the child to the hospital because police and child services would be called. Livingston and Gregory Lee finally talked Lykins into taking the infant to the hospital.
Dawn Walker, who was supposed to be babysitting Leelan that night, told police that, when she arrived at the house around 7 p.m., Lykins looked at her and told her, "We have a problem. I beat the f--- out of baby LeeLee."
Lykins told police a different story: he claimed that after his girlfriend put the baby down to sleep, he and Crain were watching television when they heard a loud thud. He told police they went into the bedroom and found Leelan laying on the floor with the injuries.
Lykins had been living with Crain since Leelan was a month old and told police he thought of the baby as his own son.
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