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Mother of murdered infant: ‘I was shocked, hurt, in denial’

Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-16 17:28:44-05

Norfolk, Va. - Ebony Futrell only spent seven weeks with her son before his tragic passing on Christmas Day.

Police say his father, Arthur Lee Smith, Jr., killed him.

On December 27, Suffolk Police arrested Arthur Lee Smith for Second Degree Murder.

The medical examiner confirmed to NewsChannel 3 that the infant, Zion Lee Smith, was killed by abusive head trauma.

Police say they issued a warrant for Smith after they found they baby unresponsive on December 23 in the 6200 Block of Sewells Point Road.

According to the Commonwealth's Attorney, Arthur Smith was home alone with the baby and four other children. Smith told police he got mad when the baby wouldn’t stop crying so he shook the baby twice. Police say he was playing video games at the time.

He reportedly told police the baby began breathing abnormally and blood started coming out of his nose.

Prosecutors say instead of calling police, Smith waited for Futrell to come home from a job interview.

"No matter how much you try to hope and pray it's okay, he's going to pull through deep down inside I knew he wasn't there," Futrell said.

In the days after Zion's death, Futrell supported the father of her son.

"I was shocked, hurt, in denial," she said. "I couldn`t wrap my mind around it."

But now, she has had a change of heart.

"Everything was a blur--but then everything started dawning that this man that devoted himself and promised that he would never hurt anything I love, which are my children, he did," Futrell said.

As she now waits for Smith's murder trial, this once supportive mom says she is just hoping for justice.  She asked NewsChannel 3 to take action to see why the case has been continued twice already.

A spokesperson from the Commonwealth's Attorney says the case has been pushed back because of delay in getting medical records in the following released statement:

A jury trial was scheduled for 9/1/15, but was continued to allow for the defense to hire a medical expert.  A jury trial was then scheduled for 11/17/15, but has been continued as the process for obtaining the medical evidence for the medical expert to review remains underway.  Currently, the case is scheduled for the To Be Set docket on 11/18/15 – meaning when a new trial date could be set.  We certainly understand continuances in a case can be difficult for victims and their families, but continuances are often necessary for a variety of reasons.  The scheduling/timing of this case (CW vs. Arthur Lee Smith, Jr.) is not unusual, especially in this type of serious case.  Our Office is in regular contact with the child’s mother, as appropriate, through the prosecutor and victim/witness services specialist assigned to the case.

As Christmas Day approaches, Ebony wants a chance to hold on to the short lived memories with her son instead of hurt and hate.

"Anger could only tear you down. You have to forgive, you never have to forget," she said.

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