Jury finds Brandon Hayes guilty on all 10 counts - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Jury finds Brandon Hayes guilty on all 10 counts

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(01/19/12) - A jury has found Brandon Hayes guilty on all 10 counts in the April 2010 beating death of 4-year-old Dominick Calhoun.

The verdict was met by cheers in a St. Clair County courtroom after an emotional trial that has spanned two counties since Jan. 5.

Jury selection was done in Port Huron because of the media attention in Genesee County.

Most of the testimony was heard in Flint.

Genesee County Assistant Prosecutor Tammy Phillips spoke to jurors for about an hour and a half Thursday, opening her closing argument making a very strong statement.

She showed a picture of Dominick, healthy and smiling, and then one of him bruised, burned and dying in his bedroom that Sunday afternoon nearly two years ago.

During his closing argument, Hayes' defense attorney James Piazza, pointed the finger at Dominick's mother, Corrine Baker.

"This whole case boils down to, very simply, not what but who," Piazza said.

The jury returned a verdict less than two hours after it started deliberating.

When it was over?

Grandfather Rick Calhoun hugged just about everyone within range, taking care to personally thank the Argentine Township Police officers involved.

Before embracing Officer Angelo Panos, Calhoun said, "We did good, didn't we?"

Panos was the first officer on scene the day Dominick was found.

Calhoun summoned Panos.

That raw emotion emanated out of the courtroom and then outside of the courthouse Thursday afternoon.

"I'm overwhelmed with so many different feelings. Being with us here the whole time, you know, how we tried to keep in good spirits," said Dominick's Aunt, Melanie Calhoun.

Phillips' exit was met by cheers.

"That's just a tremendous outpouring for those of us who do what we do," Phillips said.

Jurors found Brandon Hayes guilty of first degree murder, first degree child abuse and torture. 

Hayes was also charged in, and found guilty in, Baker's assault, Dominick's brother's abuse and three drug counts.

"They (jurors) knew before they even went in there," Rick said, "I just want to say thank you to each and every one of them."

Piazza said he's disappointed in the verdict and now?

"On to the court of appeals."

Hayes sentencing is tentatively scheduled for February 27 in Genesee County.

He faces life in prison without parole.

Baker, who pleaded guilty to second degree murder and second degree child abuse for her part in her son's death, faces 13-30 years in prison when sentenced.

She testified against Hayes, at trial, in exchange for that sentencing recommendation from prosecutors.

"We're gratified by the jury's decision and feel it is justice for Dominick," said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.

"We hope this will bring some closure for Dominick's family," he said.


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