Man accused of raping, killing baby girl says charges should be dismissed
The Manahawkin man accused of raping and killing his girlfriend's baby daughter is looking to have the charges against him dismissed, NJ.com reports.
The site said at an Aug. 21 hearing, Michael Disporto Jr.'s attorney will argue motions including one to dismiss the charges, and others to suppress evidence or change venue. But the report said no mention was made of the case being resolved without going to trial — even though Disporto's ex-girlfriend, also charged in the case, has agreed to testify against him.
Amber Bobo admitted endangering the welfare of a child earlier this year.
Her baby, Ariana Smyth, died last July at Cooper University Hospital after what prosecutors described as a horrifying ordeal.
"She was the most beautiful baby you'd ever meet," the child's cousin, Destiny Hughes of Barnegat, told New Jersey 101.5 at the time. "She was always smiling, dancing, laughing. She went to bed with a smile, she woke up with a smile and she'd wake up in the middle of the night just to laugh. She was my whole world. She made me feel so good about myself."
Hughes said Bobo and the girl's father were separated.
A probable cause statement filed in the case told a troubling story of Bobo's discovery of Ariana's severe injuries to her full body, including her genital area, allegedly at Disporto's hands, New Jersey 101.5 reported at the time of the couple's arrests. And it details how, at Disporto's urging, Bobo allegedly kept declining to get the baby medical care.
According to the statement, emergency personnel responded to a South King Street home to find the 2-year-old, only identified by authorities as A.S., had bruises on her head and was unconscious in her mother's arms.
"She had obvious injuries to her head and face," it said.
It also describes an account Bobo gave to detectives. The day before, she'd picked up the girl from her father, accompanied by Disporto, the statement says. That night, Disporto — who'd only been dating Bobo about two weeks — took the child to a nearby park because "he wanted to get to know her better," Bobo said, according to the statement. Disporto and the girl returned after just 15 minutes, it says.
Disporto then took the child to watch fireworks, but Bobo stayed home, too tired to go out, she reportedly told detectives. They were gone for another 30 minutes, the statement says.
Bobo put the child to sleep in her bedroom, and joined her at about 11 p.m. — they always slept together because only one room had air conditioning, the statement says.
Bobo awoke at 7 a.m. to find the child no longer in bed, but sleeping on the coach — where Disporto had been — wrapped in a blue blanket, the statement recounts her saying. She went back to sleep for a while, but when she awoke again and returned to the living room, she unwrapped the child and found she was wearing a different outfit than before, the statement says.
She saw bruises on both sides of the child's forehead, but Disporto denied knowing anything about them, the statement says. He then claimed they happened when the child fell in the park, it says.
While Bobo wanted to take the child to the hospital, Disporto talked her out of it, and said they should put ice on her bruises and let her sleep, the statement says.
At 11 a.m., Bobo prepared to bathe the child, and found more bruises on her back and genital areas — bruises she'd missed when Disporto, at his own request, changed the child earlier, the statement says. She questioned Disporto again, and he convinced her not to take the child to the hospital, worried about what people would think, the statement says.
An hour later, the couple took the child to the Deptford Mall — in a hat Bobo said was to conceal the bruises — where she began vomiting, the statement says.
Two hours later, they returned to Bobo's residence, where the child began vomiting more, the statement says. Still, the couple bathed and dressed the child, and returned to Deptford to shop more, the statement says.
It's only when they returned home again that Bobo laid the child on the couch and then later in the air conditioned bedroom. Whens Bobo checked on her, she found the child had vomited a third time and her eyes were rolling into the back of her head, the statement says. She was completely motionless, it says.
"Bobo told Disporto she wanted to take A.S. to the hospital," the statement says. "Disporto opined that A.S. was 'just tired.' When Bobo insisted on making sure A.S. was okay, Disporto said, 'I'm never going to see you again,'" the statement reads.
Bobo finally called 911 at 6:04 p.m., the statement says.
The child was transported to Cooper University Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a subdural hemorrhage and cerebral edema, requiring immediate brain surgery, according to the statement. The baby had bilateral bruising and swelling to her labia, a complete fracture of her right humerus, bilateral pulmonary contusions and urine and blood in her abdomen.
In examinations at noon and 6 p.m. the next day, she had no brain activity. Life support was cut off and she was pronounced dead at 6:26 p.m., the statement says.
An autopsy conducted July 6 of last year determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
A GoFundMe page created by another family member, Paul Pearson, eventually raised more than $12,000 to help Ariana's father pay for funeral expenses.
— With prior reporting by Dan Alexander and Louis C. Hochman
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