Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Oct. 3) secured a guilty plea and 30-year state prison sentence for a New Orleans East man who killed his newborn daughter in January 2017.
Arsenio Chambliss, 29, was to be tried Dec. 9 for the second-degree murder of his 4-week-old daughter Azyri Chambliss. He opted instead Thursday to enter into a plea agreement before Criminal District Judge Paul Bonin. Chambliss pleaded guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter and guilty as charged to second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, and Bonin imposed concurrent 30-year sentences on each count.
The infant girl was found unresponsive inside the family’s home in the 7800 block of Coronet Court by New Orleans EMS, who responded to a 911 call from the child’s aunt shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2017.
The child’s mother had last seen the baby healthy during a diaper change between 2 and 3 a.m., and had left the house a few hours later to take another child to school and to pursue job interviews. The woman left Arsenio Chambliss as their daughter’s sole caretaker that morning.
An autopsy determined the infant died from blunt-force injuries to her head, according to the Orleans Parish Coroner’s office. Pathologists also found older healed rib fractures, a likely sign of previous abuse. Arsenio Chambliss’ criminal history includes a Jefferson Parish conviction for Domestic Abuse Battery against a previous girlfriend, whom he hit and choked while she was five months’ pregnant.
This child’s mother told police she was asleep when Arsenio Chambliss got up to feed the baby a bottle around 5:40 a.m. About an hour later, she said the child’s father had the infant laying on his chest, concealed under a blanket, when she left to escort her oldest daughter to school. She was looking for employment when the infant’s father called around 11 a.m. to say the baby was cold and had shallow breathing, and had not responded when placed into a warm bath.
The newborn’s mother called her sister, asking her to go check on the baby. The infant’s aunt called 911 at 11:23 a.m., after finding the child lifeless in a car seat inside the house. Efforts to resuscitate the child were unsuccessful.
“This is an extremely tragic case,” Cannizzaro said. “A defenseless baby never should be subjected to such abuse. This admission of guilt and the significant sentence imposed by the judge will, I hope, bring some measure of justice for this baby girl’s mother, siblings and grieving family.”
Assistant District Attorneys Michael Trummel and Daniel Smart prosecuted the case.
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