Reginald Tumlin faces 60 years on child death convictions

Reginald Tumlin faces 60 years on child death convictions

June 15th, 2012 by Todd South in News

Reginald Tumlin listens during jury selection for his trial Tuesday in Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom. Tumlin has been charged with felony murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

A 32-year-old man could face as much as 60 years in prison for convictions related to the death of his son.

A Criminal Court jury found Reginald Tumlin guilty of two counts of child abuse, one count criminally negligent homicide and one count of aggravated child neglect.

The neglect charge carries a 60-year maximum sentence. Tumlin has a criminal history which includes drug sales, vehicular homicide and assault charges. That history could mean a maximum sentence on his hearing date of Aug. 27.

Tumlin's attorney, Dan Ripper, said his client remains adamant that he did not hurt his son and plans to appeal.

Jurors deliberated nearly four hours Thursday afternoon before returning with the verdict.

Prosecutor Charlie Minor declined to comment citing other cases pending against Tumlin.

Minor admonished the jury to speak for Tumlin's deceased son, Jaylen Ramsey, at the end of his closing arguments Thursday, the third day of the trial.

"You go back there and you speak for him, too, and you find this man guilty for beating and biting his son to death and you sleep well," said Minor.

Ripper objected multiple times during Minor's closing arguments when the prosecutor, at times, stood across the table a few feet from Tumlin and faced the defendant while pointing at him and questioning how he could have hurt his child and not sought medical treatment until it was too late.

Ripper closed his client's defense by criticizing the prosecution's lack of physical proof connecting Tumlin to the child's injuries.

The defense attorney asked jurors to put themselves in the mindset of Tumlin and his girlfriend Shamika Grier, who thought the child's symptoms were minor and waited two hours to take him to the hospital.

Outside the courtroom during the trial Grier and other Tumlin supporters said he had never been violent with Jaylen or any of his other seven children.

An autopsy showed more than 50 bruises on various parts of the toddler's face and body, numerous lacerations and a healing burn on the back of his left thigh, bleeding on the brain, lungs and kidneys.

The medical examiner's report listed "bowel perforation due to blunt force abdominal trauma" as the likely cause of death.

Dr. Dale DuBois, the emergency room doctor who pronounced the boy dead, testified Jaylen was struck so hard his bowel "degloved" or came loose and began spilling its contents into his body, causing a massive infection that likely killed the boy.

Tumlin admitted under cross-examination that he bit Jaylen and his other seven children playfully but didn't have much concern over the numerous bruises, scratches and other injuries on the child's body, saying that all of his kids play rough with each other.

Police arrested Tumlin on May 18, 2010, on unrelated drug charges two weeks after Jaylen died.

He admitted he'd hidden from police, wearing a ballcap and wig as a disguise. He testified that he was in hiding before and after Jaylen's death to avoid warrants on the separate drug charges and not because of any concern over possible charges in his son's death.

Tumlin has previously pleaded guilty to a vehicular homicide charge along with assault and marijuana possession charges in 2002. Tumlin was sentenced to five years on that plea.

He also pleaded guilty to cocaine possession for redistribution charges in 2007.

Tumlin is a member of Dorris Street Bloods gang, according to court documents.

His gang affiliation is not allowed to be shown to the jury in an effort to avoid prejudicing them against the defendant in this trial.

But because Tumlin chose to testify his criminal history was revealed to the jury. Had he not testified it is unlikely that attorneys could have brought his criminal past before the jury.