Norfolk father charged with murdering infant daughter convicted on child abuse charges

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 18:19:20-04

NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk father who was charged with murdering his 9-month-old daughter in November 2018 was convicted on child abuse charges.

On Tuesday, a judge in Norfolk Circuit Court convicted 29-year-old Kasiam A. Tinsley on two counts of Child Abuse/Neglect, both of which are felonies, after a bench trial that began Monday.

Kasiam A. Tinsley

The Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said the judge also dismissed the felony charges of one count of 2nd Degree Murder, one count of Malicious Wounding and one count of Child Cruelty.

In April, Tinsley was indicted on all of his initial charges.

Tinsley was arrested late last year after his baby girl, Makayla Smith, was found unresponsive on November 13, 2018.

A medical examiner ruled the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. In court in early March, the assistant chief medical examiner testified that the child also had brain hemorrhaging, brain bleeding, bruises and abrasions.

It was also discovered that there was almost nothing in the child’s stomach.

A child abuse expert from the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters testified that the child’s injuries are consistent with what she often sees in abuse cases.

At the time of the incident, Tinsley was living in a house with his girlfriend, who also has children. People in the house at the time of the alleged incident range from 19 years of age down to one.

Someone who was staying in the home that night testified he heard high-pitched screams coming from the baby in the middle of the night but said it did not last long. Nobody reported seeing abuse happening.

Defense attorney Melinda Seemar spoke to News 3 outside of court in March, saying her client was not the only person to come in contact with the baby. She also brought up that Tinsley had custody of Makayla and her twin brother Messiah after she said the children were taken from their biological mother, Crystal Smith.

News 3 reporter Rachael Cardin spoke to Smith a day after a judge found there was enough probable cause to support a murder charge and move Tinsley’s case  to Norfolk Circuit Court. She said she does not think Tinsley is the only one who hurt the infant, and she knows the abuse must have been going on for some time.

“If I could give my life for hers, I’d do it in a heartbeat because it doesn’t feel right for her not to be here,” said Smith.

Tinsley remains in custody until his sentencing hearing on October 11.

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