SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man previously convicted of the shaking abuse of his girlfriend's 11-month-old daughter in 2005 was charged yesterday with murder after the victim died as a result of the injuries she sustained 10 years ago. Christopher Edward Byrd, 39, La Habra, is charged with one felony count of murder and one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death. If convicted, Byrd faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. The defendant is currently in custody for a 2012 conviction for possession of methamphetamine and identity theft. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in jail on April 30, 2013. Byrd is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
Circumstances of the Case
At the time of the crime, Byrd lived with his girlfriend and her 11-month-old daughter, Savannah Lee Quake, in La Habra.
On Jan. 12, 2005, the defendant was watching Savannah while her mother left the home for several hours. During that time, Byrd is accused of shaking the victim until the victim was unconscious. Byrd took the infant to a neighbor, who called 911. Paramedics responded to the scene and the victim was subsequently placed on a ventilator.
The La Habra Police Department (LHPD) investigated this case. On Jan. 18, 2005, Byrd was charged with one felony count of child abuse and one felony count of possession of methamphetamine. The defendant pleaded guilty to both charges on May 18, 2007, and was sentenced to four years and eight months in state prison.
Circumstances of the 2015 Charges
As a direct result of Byrd shaking the child, the victim suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent the next 10 years in a vegetative state. On Jan. 17, 2015, the victim died as a direct result of the complications from the brain injury the defendant inflicted.
Under the law, there is no statute of limitations on murder if it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that a criminal act resulted in a death. After the victim died, the Orange County District Attorney's Office and LHPD began investigating Byrd and filed murder charges yesterday, Nov. 24, 2015.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 15NF3144 / November 25, 2015