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Murder charged dropped in baby death case

WESTON, W.Va. -- Prosecutors have dropped a first-degree murder charge against a Lewis County man arrested in the death of his girlfriend's 14-month-old son.

But special prosecutor Michael Parker says he expects to present a new case to a grand jury in July.

Investigators say Hepzibah resident Christopher Thomas Sheppard was babysitting at a Jane Lew apartment and left the child unattended in a bath in 2011. Rex Donald Mick fell out of the sink, landed on his head and later died.

But an autopsy revealed multiple blunt-force traumas.

A trooper handling the case said the baby had 16 freshly broken ribs and five healing ribs, bruises on his ear and torso, and injuries inside his mouth.

The Exponent-Telegram ( says Circuit Judge John Henning's ruling on Thursday allows prosecutors to refile charges.


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