Dad who abused his infant son charged with murder in the boy’s death 2 decades later

Lucius Middlebrooks Photo: Allegheny County Sheriffs Department

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A Pennsylvania man is facing murder charges after the son he abused as an infant died nearly two decades later.

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Lucius Middlebrooks, 46, pleaded guilty in 1996 for shaking his then-infant son, Cavelle Mena. The 8-week-old was left with traumatic brain injuries and severe medical issues that required around the clock care. According to a criminal complaint filed at the time, the baby had suffered a severe lack of oxygen to his brain while in the sole custody of Middlebrooks.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Middlebrooks pleaded guilty in 1998 and was sentenced to 3-and-a-half to 8 years in prison for the abuse and served time before being released later.

He admitted to investigators that he had shaken the infant, and he reportedly told a social worker at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where the infant was treated, “It was my fault, maybe I was too rough with the baby.”

Mena suffered from cerebral palsy and seizures and required a feeding and breathing tube until his death in November 2015; he was 18 or 19 years old. An autopsy reportedly found that the injuries caused by his father nearly two decades before were responsible for Mena’s death, reported WTAE.

Middlebrooks was arrested Thursday, Feb. 23, on a single homicide charge and remains in custody without bail at Allegheny County Jail.

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WTAE spoke with the victim’s mother, who reportedly felt that some “justice has been served” and that her son had lived a hard life “that he didn’t have to.”

Authorities have not disclosed why several years passed between Cavelle’s death in 2015 and Middlebrook’s arrest last week.

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