We have two unimaginably horrendous stories over the past few days which are unrelated but involve brutal murders by fathers of their small children – one in Zachary, and one in New Orleans.
The Zachary murder, which is the more outrageous of the two, happened on Saturday…
Two days after the death of her 11-month-old son, Iesha Tolbert tries to recall happy memories of his “pretty smile” as she comes to terms with her present reality: the fact that her husband — a man she has known for 15 years — could have murdered their baby.
An autopsy determined that Jericho Smith — whom Tolbert called her “boy angel” who often “brightened up the room with his smile” — died of multiple gunshot wounds, stab wounds and blunt force injuries, said East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark, who ruled the baby’s death a homicide.
Jericho’s father, 33-year-old Fabian Smith, was arrested Saturday and booked into Parish Prison on one count each of first-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile.
One of Smith’s other children alerted a neighbor that something was wrong, and the neighbor then found Jericho unresponsive, in a pool of blood on a bedroom floor inside Smith’s house. Zachary Police Chief David McDavid said Smith told the neighbor: “I done messed up — call 911.”
Jericho was pronounced dead at the scene.
And then there was the one in New Orleans, which involves the husband of Baton Rouge’s Urban Development Director…
The 18-month old child of a Baton Rouge city government employee was killed by the other parent, media outlets in New Orleans reported Tuesday morning.
Police said a 45-year-old man confessed to stabbing and suffocating his child overnight after a message from God. The killing happened in the Bywater area of New Orleans – an area between the city’s Lower 9th Ward and the French Quarter. The man was identified as Mark Hambrick.
The New Orleans Advocate reported property records show the home is owned by his wife, Monika Gerhart-Hambrick, who is the East Baton Rouge Urban Development Director.
Payroll records also show that Mark Hambrick had worked for the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.
Police said Mark Hambrick was alone with the child as the mother worked “out of town,” according to the newspaper.
“It’s a gruesome scene. It’s tragic,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison told WWL TV, a news partner with WBRZ in New Orleans. “A mother has lost a baby and has now lost a husband,” he said.
We don’t really have much to offer as commentary on these two cases. Nothing really connects them other than the circumstances seem eerily similar and that they swim in a diseased culture which clearly values life less than it should.
Even within that, though, it’s hard to explain or even understand how a father could ever want to commit such an atrocity against his child. Something is very wrong when an outrage like that happens.