Child's death

A man charged with murdering his girlfriend’s 19-month-old toddler will stand trial in Pulaski County, a judge ruled.

Freddie L. Thomas, 37, of Dittmer, is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse, both Class A felonies.

Thomas will stand trial in Pulaski County on a change of venue from Texas County, ruled Don Henry, circuit court judge who is hearing the case.

Authorities allege Thomas violently threw Loyce Darlene-Marie Decker into a bathtub, resulting in serious physical injury and head trauma in August 2009. She later died in a Springfield hospital.

Thomas, the boyfriend of the toddler’s mother, Stephanie Shiver, was home alone with the baby and two twin boys, ages 3, at the home about three miles east of Licking on Highway 32.

Authorities, according to Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson, were suspicious of Thomas’ story after he told them child fell while in the bathtub. Later, Thomas admitted throwing the baby into the bathtub. Watson said Thomas was not giving the baby a bath at the time, and she was fully clothed.



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