Father Charged With Homicide After Repeatedly Punching His 4-Month-Old Daughter Because She Was 'Fussy'

(Photo: Allegheny County Police)

Father Charged With Homicide After Repeatedly Punching His 4-Month-Old Daughter Because She Was 'Fussy'

Joseph Gazzam first told police the baby fell out of her bed.

Published November 15, 2017

A Pennsylvania father has been charged with homicide after admitting to fatally punching his four-month-old daughter because she “would not stop crying.”

On Monday, Joseph George Gazzam, 30, was arrested by Allegheny County Police for beating his daughter Victoria Gazzam while watching her alone on Sunday, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

According to homicide Detective Anthony Perry, Gazzam first told police the baby fell from the bed when they were napping, causing her to be harmed. However, once the autopsy was concluded on Monday and determined the infant suffered from multiple bruises and fractured bones, Gazzam admitted to repeatedly punching the child because she was “fussy.”

“[She] would not stop crying and would not fall asleep again,” Gazzam told investigators. He said he became agitated and began punching the baby.

“She stopped breathing and her eyes rolled back in her head,” Gazzam said, according to a criminal complaint.

Once the baby became unresponsive, Gazzam called 911 and emergency responders were dispatched to the home. Victoria was rushed to St. Clair Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about an hour later.

The official autopsy showed Victoria suffered bleeding of the brain, a lacerated heart vessel, a lacerated left kidney, a liver contusion, three fractured ribs, multiple bruises to the back and head and a hemorrhage behind the eyes. Her death was subsequently ruled a homicide by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.

“Dr. James stated that the above injuries could not occur to an infant by falling from the surface of a mattress that was 2 feet, 2 inches above a carpeted floor,” Detective Perry said in the criminal complaint.

Mr. Gazzam is charged with homicide, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child.

Mt. Lebanon Police Chief Aaron V. Lauth said Gazzam and the child’s mother, Kayla Walter, lived in the attic of the baby’s grandmother, Cindy Walter. Neither woman was present during the abuse. 

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)


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