Baby Girl Shaken By Father Died: PA Man Charged With Aggravated Assault

A baby girl who was violently shaken by her father has died. The PA man has been charged with aggravated assault, among other charges. It has not yet been determined if new charges will follow after the infant’s death, WJACTV reports.

Liberty McDonald, 3 months old, died at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. She arrived at Somerset Hospital in critical condition on September 25 with multiple injuries, and was flown to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Brandon Leer, 23, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, as well as other related charges. Leer’s attorney has declined to speak on Monday and it is not known if he will face additional charges following Liberty’s death.


Leer waived his preliminary hearing that was scheduled for earlier in the month.

According to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Leer violently shook Liberty after he became angry because she was crying and wouldn’t stop, Leer allegedly told the police.

The incident occurred around 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 25. Liberty was diagnosed with a brain injury and put on life support.

During an interview with the police, Leer allegedly admitted that the baby wouldn’t stop crying and he become angry. Leer further allegedly admitted to shaking the baby for approximately a minute before she became unresponsive. He then claimed, according to an affidavit, that after he had shaken her, he tripped, causing her to fall into the corner of a coffee table.

Leer was taken to Somerset County Jail on $50,000 bond. He was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, and endangering the welfare of a child. Tribdem revealed, however, that Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser did state that Leer’s charges could be upgraded should Liberty’s condition change.

Prior to Liberty’s death, the doctors revealed that the baby girl suffered severe brain damage likely caused by abuse. She had a bilateral subdural hemorrhage just outside her brain, as well as a head contusion.

Leer has a formal arraignment scheduled for November 28.

Kids Health explains shaken baby syndrome and why you should never shake your child. Children up to age 5 can be victims of this abusive head trauma.

Head trauma is the number one cause of death among abuse cases. Infants under 2 months old are more likely to fall victims to this terrible abuse. What exactly causes this abusive head trauma?


Shaken baby syndrome occurs when a person violently shakes a child, or smacks a child’s head violently against a surface. While many cases of shaken baby syndrome is a result of babies crying, it is important to know that once the trauma is done, the baby may stop. Unfortunately, though, the baby typically stops crying when they sustain head trauma.

In 70 percent of shaken baby syndrome cases, males are the perpetrators. Often times, it is the baby’s father, step-father, mother’s boyfriend, or someone in their early 20s.

Often times, the damage is greater when the child is shaken and then hit against some sort of hard surface. Shaken baby syndrome typically results in brain swelling and bleeding. The built-up pressure then compresses blood vessels, which causes more damage to the delicate brain.

Boys are more likely to become victims of shaken baby syndrome. Children who have special needs or those with GERD or colic have a higher risk of being shaken. Children of people who live below poverty level are also at higher risk for shaken baby syndrome. Substance abuse can often play a role in shaken baby syndrome, as well.

If you are wondering what the damage could be if a child falls victim of shaken baby syndrome, here is the list.

  1. Hearing loss
  2. Developmental Delays
  3. Seizures
  4. Partial or complete blindness
  5. Severe mental retardation
  6. Impaired intellect
  7. Cerebral Palsy
  8. Death

Sometimes children look completely normal after being shaken, but oftentimes, they may still show signs of shaken baby syndrome as they grow older.

While it is unknown at this time whether or not Leer is going to face more charges in connection to Liberty’s death, the Inquisitr will update this article with more information as it becomes available.

[Featured Image by fieldwork/AP Images]