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Parents in court in Visalia infant murder case

November 20, 2012 12:15:51 AM PST
Monday was the first court appearance for Aaron and Courtney Rowe, parents charged in their own child's death.

Monday Action News learned Aaron Rowe faces murder charges with a special allegation that he tortured his baby girl.

Eight Tulare County Sheriff's deputies were rushed to the parking lot of the pretrial correctional facility in Visalia after a screaming match broke out between the families of two defendants.

Aaron Rowe and Courtney Rowe, who can barely be seen on the right of the screen, both plead not guilty to the charges against them.

Aaron Rowe is facing charges of murder with a special allegation that he tortured his six-week-old baby girl named Peyton.

The Tulare County District Attorney's Office says the autopsy provided a clear picture of little Peyton's abuse.

Visalia police say the infant died from blunt force trauma to the head and was still healing from other bruises and fractures.

Tim Ward said, "As with most of these types of cases certainly indicative of the cause of death and that was certainly the case in this incident as well as the magnitude of the injuries which brought to light the special allegation."

Courtney Rowe, 21, is facing felony child abuse charges. Visalia police believe Courtney had to have known of the abuse based on the extent of the infant's injuries.

"With her we filed one count of felony child endangerment and a special allegation due to the age of the victim."

On Friday Action News learned Aaron Rowe has a history of domestic violence. The DAs office says it is looking into whether he will face more charges for violating his probation. After court Aaron's father, Doug Rowe, came to his son's defense, telling action news his son is innocent.

Doug said, "I've been with that baby twice a week sometimes three times a week since that baby was born and I never seen one bruise or mark on that baby's body."

Doug believes what his son told police -- that the 6-week-old was injured after Aaron fell while holding the baby.

"My mom has even changed that baby and she has stated she has not seen one mark on that baby never seen one bruise," Doug said.

Aaron and Courtney Rowe will be back in court next week. Aaron faces life in prison if convicted of the charges. Courtney faces 10 years.


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