Berks County man accused of killing his infant son

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SOUTH HEIDELBERG TOWNSHIP, Berks County — Berks County detectives have accused a 31-year-old Robesonia man of killing his infant son, according to a criminal complaint.

Joshua Eric Leas, of the 700 block of Texter Mountain Road, is charged with Criminal Homicide, Murder of the 1st Degree, Murder of the 3rd Degree, Aggravated Assault and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Police say that on June 16, Leas allegedly physically assaulted the infant boy, causing him to suffer injuries he later succumbed to.

Police say they were summoned to the Leas residence at 11:16 a.m. on June 16 for the report of an unconscious infant. The 4-month-old boy was transported to Reading Hospital, where it was determined he was suffering from a “brain bleed.” The baby was transported to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Center for further treatment.

Leas, the baby’s father and primary caregiver, made the initial incident report, according to police.

Detectives from the Berks County District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit reported to Hershey Medical Center to lead the investigation, according to the arrest affidavit. When they arrived, the met the the examining physician, who told them the baby was suffering from a subdural bleed, and had suspected old bruising on his back and right flank.

The baby succumbed to his injuries on June 19, police say. An autopsy was conducted on June 22, and the cause of death was determined to be a subdural hemorrhage caused by a traumatic head injury.

Detectives received the Autopsy Pathology Report on August 31. It was determined that the baby’s injuries were the result of “violent shaking of and impact to (the baby’s) head.”

The Berks County Coroner’s Office ruled the death a homicide on September 5.

Based on their investigation, detectives suspected that Leas committed the physical assault that resulted in his son’s injuries. They obtained an arrest warrant for Leas on September 12, and arrested him at 10:51 a.m. on September 13.

Leas is awaiting arraignment at the current time, according to the district attorney.  No bail amount will be set due to the nature of the charges.