Infant’s death leads to murder charge for father, Coast sheriff says

Colton Ellison with his mom, Jessica Lynn Smith
Colton Ellison with his mom, Jessica Lynn Smith Courtesy Jessica Lynn Smith

The father of a 2-month-old boy who died of two brain bleeds and a fractured skull now faces a charge of second-degree murder, Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

Byron Allen Ellison, 28, has been in custody on a felony child abuse charge involving injuries that left his baby in critical condition.

Infant Colton Wyatt Ellison died Oct. 18, two days after his mother called 911 for help.

Investigators upgraded the charge to second-degree murder on Monday, Peterson said.

Byron Ellison has told investigators he slammed the baby against his shoulder twice before the child lost consciousness, an affidavit says.

Harrison County Fire Service and American Medical Response had been called Oct. 15 to the family’s home on Calcutta Drive, a rural neighborhood with a Gulfport address. The baby was not breathing, according to the mother’s call for help.

Colton was taken from Garden Park Medical Center to Ochsner Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where he died.

An autopsy was later performed and the infant’s death has been ruled a homicide, Peterson said.

Jessica Lynn Smith, the baby’s mother, has told the Sun Herald she was in the kitchen about 10 minutes while Colton was with his father. Smith said she realized her baby had quit breathing, and she called 911 and followed instructions for chest compressions until firefighters arrived.

Ellison was tired and the baby wouldn’t quit crying so he banged the infant against his collar bone, Smith said investigators told her.

Ellison is being held on a $1 million bond set by Justice Court Judge Diane Ladner.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews