LUMMI RESERVATION - A Lummi man was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for killing his infant daughter by squeezing her head until her skull cracked in May 2012.
Lawrence V. Tom Jr., 23, was sentenced Wednesday, March 27, in U.S. District Court in Seattle, after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter last November.
He was home alone with his 6-month-old daughter, Casey Jo Tom, and another 18-month-old child on May 10, 2012, when he became frustrated with Casey's crying.
Tom squeezed her head between his right bicep and forearm, until he heard the skull crack, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Three days later he asked neighbors to call 911 because the baby had stopped breathing. Casey was rushed to the hospital but died from skull fractures and bleeding in her brain.
Before his arrest, Tom wrote on Facebook that his daughter died from sudden infant death syndrome.
"Absolutely, positively, definitely not SIDS. Homicide," Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel said at the time. The swelling and fractures were caused by "inflicted head trauma," Goldfogel said.
Prosecutors had asked for a 10-year sentence because of the seriousness of the offense, writing to the court that the infant "suffered greatly in her home for several days before (Tom) sought medical care for her. When first confronted about his daughter's injuries, (he) lied in an attempt to cover up his violent act against his daughter."
Because the crime occurred on Lummi Reservation, it was investigated by Lummi police and the FBI, and then tried in federal court.