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Dad, 21, gets 30 years for baby's scalding

by John Lynch | October 8, 2019 at 2:13 a.m.

A 21-year-old Jacksonville man accused of scalding his infant daughter with bath water and shooting a man in separate incidents about three months apart has accepted a 30-year prison sentence.

Derek Anthony Shockley Jr.'s daughter died of septic shock and organ failure two days after Christmas, after spending nine days at Arkansas Children's Hospital. Germanii Amarii Stewart of Brinkley was burned on over two-thirds of her body, Jacksonville police said.

Shockley has been jailed since his arrest Dec. 18, the day police who were called to the family home at 6 N. Simmons Drive found the 13½-month-old girl crying and writhing in pain with her skin sloughing off her body.

Shockley told police the baby had "pooped" in her clothes while sleeping without a diaper and that he stood her, holding one of her arms, under the shower, cleaned her off with Axe and Dial soaps, then rinsed her off, court records show. Germanii was crying while he washed her, but that was not unusual, Shockley told investigators.

He said he wrapped her in towels and laid her on the bed when he saw something unusual on her forehead -- when he rubbed it, the skin would slide. Shockley said he carried the baby to his mother's room to show her, and when he removed the towel her skin peeled away from the shoulder.

Shockley's mother, 39-year-old Lavern Shockley, told investigators that she told her son to call 911 as soon as she saw the baby's injuries. She said she asked her son how hot was the shower, and he told her "not very hot at all." Derek Shockley did not show any injuries.

Two days after Germanii was injured, detectives used a candy thermometer to check the water temperature, measuring it at 113 degree from the shower and 153 degrees from the bathtub spigot.

Police charged Shockley with second-degree murder, a Class A felony that carries a maximum of 30 years in prison, but prosecutors upgraded that charge to Class Y felony first-degree battery of a child, the felony equivalent of first-degree murder, which carries a potential life sentence.

Shockley pleaded guilty last month before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright in exchange for the 30-year sentence that will be followed by a 10-year suspended prison term.

Shockley's prison sentence includes a 10-year concurrent term for shooting a Sherwood man, 20-year-old Hayden Andrew Sheward, and attacking Sheward's 22-year-old sister at their home at 3 Hula Drive about a week before Halloween. Sentencing papers filed Friday show Shockley pleaded guilty to first-degree battery for shooting Sheward and two counts of aggravated assault for the attack on his sister.

Witnesses told police that Sheward and a friend, Eric Vondale McMillon Jr. of Sherwood, had gotten into an argument inside the house Oct. 24 after Sheward called McMillon to the residence and accused him of stealing $100 to $200.

Sister Taylor Delaine Sheward told Pulaski County sheriff's deputies that she and her brother had been friends with McMillon for some time and that he had regularly visited the house. She said the argument between the men moved outside, and Sheward told investigators she tried to intervene but that Shockley choked her, then released her and pulled a gun on her. She said she'd never seen Shockley before.

She said she heard her brother calling on Shockley to shoot him and that Shockley turned toward her brother and fired a shot. Hayden Sheward was shot in the stomach.

Shockley and McMillon then got into a car and left, with McMillon driving.

Witness Justice Bryan told police that during the argument, McMillon denied taking any money from Hayden Sheward, saying the cash he had on him was from his friend Derek.

Bryan, who called 911 after the shooting, told deputies she did not see Sheward get shot.

She said she was inside the doorway of the home when she saw Shockley point the gun at Taylor Sheward, so she shut the door, then lay on the floor for protection with another visitor, Asha Allen, just before the gun fired.

Shockley surrendered to authorities four days later. McMillon, 19, also was arrested and charged with hindering apprehension but prosecutors dropped the charge last month.

Metro on 10/08/2019

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