July 3, 2012

Father accused of murdering infant son pleads not guilty

By Ann S. Kim akim@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

ALFRED — The Arundel man accused of killing his 2½-month-old son in May has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Gordon Collins-Faunce

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Photo of Ethan Henderson.

Image courtesy of Facebook

Gordon Collins-Faunce entered not guilty pleas to depraved indifference murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault today in York County Superior Court. The aggravated assault and assault stem from earlier alleged incidents.

The defense has 90 days to file motions. Bail was set at $250,000 cash or surety.

According to a police affidavit in the case, Collins-Faunce grabbed his son, Ethan Henderson, by the head, squeezed the child's head and threw him hard into a chair. He told police the baby was crying and that he was frustrated and overwhelmed, according to the document.

Collins-Faunce was arrested the next day, May 6, while the child was in the hospital. The baby died May 8 after being taken off life support.

The case also set off a discussion about the government's role in potential abuse cases.

According to the police affidavit, Collins also admitted to breaking his son's arm when the boy was 4 weeks old. But he said at the time that the arm had gotten stuck in the crib when he picked up the child.

Families members say Ethan's life might have been saved by a referral to the state Department of Health and Human Services and intervention by the department's child-protection workers.

The DHHS did receive a complaint that Ethan's 3-year-old half sister was "covered in bruises" and that he and his twin brother were sick and not getting medical attention, but it's not clear when that report was received.

The extent of the DHHS's involvement with the family is not clear because the Attorney General's Office has instructed the department not to release details until after the criminal case -- which is expected to last about a year.

Dr. Lawrence Ricci, a member of the state's Child Death and Serious Injury Review Panel, has lobbied the state to allow the panel to review the case as soon as possible.

"Every day we wait to do an analysis, kids are falling through the cracks," Ricci said.

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