For Immediate Release - July 19, 2007

Haverhill Man Sentenced In Shaken Baby Case

A Salem Superior Court jury yesterday afternoon found Derick Epps, 30, of Haverhill, guilty of assault and battery causing substantial bodily injury to a child. The jury deliberated for eight hours at the close of the week-long trial before returning its verdict.

This morning, Judge David Lowy sentenced Epps to 7-10 years in state prison.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall proved that on October 9, 2004, Epps shook his then-girlfriend's baby, two year old Vernonica Gonzalez, in their Haverhill apartment, causing permanent brain injury.

The baby's mother, Sara Comeau, who was Epps' girlfriend at the time, was at work when the injury was inflicted. Charges of allowing substantial bodily injury to a child, and child endangerment against Comeau, who testified against Epps at trial, were dropped.

Epps was represented by Attorney Lawrence McGuire.