Conviction upheld in murder of 10-week-old boy who had a fractured skull, 15 broken ribs

Anthony Casanova lost a bid to have his felony murder conviction overturned.

A Muskegon County man who left his infant son with a fractured skull, more than two dozen bruises and 15 fractured ribs, has lost a bid to have his felony murder conviction overturned.

Anthony Casanova initially told police he fell on his 10-week-old son after tripping over the family’s dog, a miniature dachshund. In a subsequent interview, Casanova said he bounced his son, Tyler, head-first on an inflated air mattress and squeezed him in a “bear hug’’ to the point where he stopped breathing.

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When first responders arrived at Casanova’s Norton Shores home in Jan. 2013, they found the baby unconscious, not breathing and without a pulse. He also had multiple bruises on his chest and abdomen which appeared to be in varying degrees of healing.

An autopsy revealed that Tyler died from multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, 25 bruises to the chest and abdomen, a lacerated liver and spleen and 15 rib fractures, some of which were older and healing. The medical examiner testified that the injuries were not accidental, but intentionally inflicted.

In his appeal, Casanova argued that statements made to police before he was read his Miranda rights should not have been presented at trial. But justices noted that Casanova also talked to officers after being read his Miranda rights.

“It is clear to us, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a rational jury would have found defendant guilty even absent the admission of the challenged portion of his confession,’’ justices wrote.

He also unsuccessfully challenged the effectiveness of his lawyer and disclosure that Casanova was visiting pornographic websites before calling 911.

A Muskegon County jury deliberated less than an hour before finding him guilty of first-degree child abuse and felony murder for Tyler Casanova’s death.

The Court of Appeals, in a five-page ruling, upheld his conviction and mandatory life sentence. Now 45, Casanova is at a state prison in Saginaw County.

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