A Burrell Township man has been ordered to stand trial on homicide and related charges in the death of his 22-month-old stepson in May. At a preliminary hearing yesterday before District Judge George Thachik, witnesses testified that 28-year-old Juan Campbell suffocated Malachi Patterson while Campbell’s wife, Jamie Patterson Campbell, was in the hospital after having given birth. Malachi was taken to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh on May 17th and died two days later.
At the hearing, state trooper Deanna Kirkland testified that Campbell held his hand over the toddler’s mouth for 10 to 20 seconds because Malachi, who was wearing a lower body cast because of a broken left femur, “was whining or wimpering.” She said Campbell admitted he put his hand on Malachi’s mouth to quiet him, and also confessed that he had used heroin and hadn’t gotten much sleep. An Allegheny County pathologist said the cause of death was brain injury from lack of oxygen.
Campbell is being held at the Indiana County Jail on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, and reckless endangerment.