NEW BEDFORD – When the 9-month-old girl he was caring for became fussy, Ethen Harrison became angry, attacking the defenseless baby, according to Bristol County prosecutors and court records.
Harrison pleaded not guilty today in District Court to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and other charges. A judge ordered him held without bail. Prosecutors expect to charge the 23-year-old with murder once the state medical examiner’s office completes an autopsy on the baby.
Harrison, according to court records, shares an apartment on Adams Street with his girlfriend and was the sole person in charge of the woman’s 9-month old-daughter, Ariel Eluziario, at the time of the attack Thursday.
According to Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter’s office, the injured child was first driven in a private car to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford and then transferred to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, where she was pronounced dead.
In a summary of the case, authorities reported that the infant was “fussy’’ and that Harrison allegedly responded with multiple assaults on the child, which he admitted in interviews with State and New Bedford police.
First, authorities allege, he grabbed the child and dropped her to the floor, causing her to hit her head. Then he grabbed the child and pulled her up from the floor with such force that her head and neck snapped forward.
His wave of anger unabated, Harrison allegedly tossed the child onto a bed, but did so with such force that the child bounced up into the air, and fell to the floor, a distance of about four feet, where she again struck her head, the summary said.
Harrison also admitted to slapping and shaking the child. “The defendant admitted to shaking the baby and slapping the baby three times on or about the mouth and two times on the side of the baby’s face,’’ the summary said.
Harrison, according to court records, has a violent temper, one that led his father to obtain a restraining order against his son that is still in force some six months after Francis Harrison first sought protection.
In an affidavit dated June 15, Francis Harrison wrote that his son was “out of control” and threatened to “beat me up. ... I am done with him.’’ The father wrote that when his son got angry he would break things — “Windows. Doors. Whatever he gets his hands on.’’
Francis Harrison also wrote that his son was self-destructive. “He hurts himself,’’ the father wrote. And he said his son carried knives.
Harrison was being prosecuted for allegedly violating that restraining order. He also had been arrested previously for disturbing the peace when he faced off against a New Bedford police officer, and a marijuana possession charge, according to court records.