Jury convicts Edmond man of boy's murder

Rico A. Berry, 28, of Edmond, faces life in prison without parole for the Oct. 14, 2009, beating death of 2-year-old Jolen Babakhani; defense attorneys argued the death was accidental.
by Tim Willert Published: February 4, 2013
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Prosecutors said Berry severely beat the child and then kept quiet despite having a cellphone and a car at his disposal.

“He did nothing to seek help,” Assistant District Attorney Gayland Gieger said following the verdict.

The boy suffered blunt force trauma to the head, which caused irreparable brain damage. He also had “massive” bruising on his throat, forehead and back, prosecutors said.

“There's no explanation for that other than abuse or a high-speed automobile accident,” Gieger said.

Berry's attorney told jurors he was play fighting with the boy and didn't intend to harm him, just “toughen him up” at the mother's request.

“He wasn't doing anything that he hadn't done before,” Assistant Public Defender Jim Hughes said in his closing argument. “What he did was not unreasonable as he saw it under the circumstances.”

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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