Man accused in baby’s death denied bond

April 15, 2019

MICHIGAN CITY — A Coolspring Township father accused of battering his 8-week-old son to death was denied a bond reduction in La Porte Superior Court 1 on Thursday.

Brandon Lee Bottom, 25, remains in lockup at the La Porte County Jail on a cash-only bond of $100,000 on felony charges of aggravated battery, neglect of a dependent and battery; and each count stipulates the crimes resulted in the death of a person younger than 14 years.

Collectively, they carry a potential sentence of up to 110 years in prison.

Deputy Public Defender David Jones represented Bottom at his bail hearing Thursday, but withdrew his appearance immediately afterward.

Bottom will return to court on April 30 for a hearing to determine whether he will be able to hire an attorney to represent him for his jury trial, scheduled for July 15.

Corey James Bottom was just 57 days old when his mother rushed him to Franciscan Health Michigan City on Feb. 1, in a condition the probable cause affidavit describes as “very pale with shallow breathing and unable to open his eyes.”

Hospital staff determined the baby had a brain bleed; swelling of the brain; a dilated, unresponsive left pupil; and bruising along his right side – injuries “consistent with the shaking of a baby,” the document states.

Corey was transported the same day to the University of Chicago Medicine – Comer Children’s Hospital, where he died on Feb. 5.

An autopsy determined the baby’s cause of death to be “closed head injuries due to blunt force trauma.”

A broken rib and multiple other ribs in various stages of healing from previous fractures also were discovered during autopsy.

Forensic interviews with Brandon Bottom’s 6-year-old daughter and the girl’s 10-year-old uncle are documented in the affidavit.

Both were present at the Woodland Crossing apartment in the hours leading up to when Corey sustained the injuries that killed him.

The 10-year-old reportedly told Dunebrook staff he witnessed Brandon Bottom shaking the baby the same morning he was rushed to the hospital.

And the 6-year-old told them about her father’s behavior toward her younger brother in the days leading up to Feb. 1.

“She stated that she observed instances of her father, Brandon Bottom, being ‘too hard’ on the baby,” the probable cause document says. “She also described that Brandon Bottom treats the baby differently when (her mother) was home. She described how her father didn’t do anything but play games on his Playstation while the baby cries.”

Brandon Bottom has been in the custody of the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department since his Feb. 8 arrest.

The baby’s mother has not been charged. Court documents say she was at work when the fatal injuries occurred.