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Boy Is Buried After Grandfather Shoots Man He Believed Beat Toddler

January 12, 1986

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A 2-year-old boy who died of a massive head injury was buried Saturday, a day after his grandfather was charged in the shooting death of the man he believed beat the toddler.

The child, Ryan Reed, died Friday, about 12 hours after Robert N. Gann, who was engaged to the boy’s mother, was shot to death at Vanderbilt Hospital as the family kept vigil over the comatose boy.

Charles Edward Jones, 48, of Nashville was charged with first-degree murder after he shot Gann six times, police said. Gann was engaged to Jones’ daughter, Angela Reed Jones, 24.

Jones was freed on $100,000 bond and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31.

Meanwhile, Ryan’s liver was transplanted Saturday into 11-month-old Jamelle Williams of Chicago.

The boy’s kidneys, eyes and heart also were removed and flown to other U.S. cities for waiting transplant recipients, said Luke Skelley, director of the Nashville Regional Organ Procurement Agency.

Lawyer Joe Binkley Sr. said Jones believed Gann had beat Ryan into a coma.

″This man was so absolutely distraught over what had occurred, I don’t think he was cognizant of what he was doing,″ Binkley said.

Bill Vest, a lawyer for the Gann family, said he did not believe Gann had abused the boy.

″I asked each one what Angela said about the injuries,″ he said. ″They said she was quite specific that Bobby didn’t do anything to the child.″

Preliminary findings of an autopsy released Saturday indicate the boy died of cerebral hematoma, or internal bleeding, caused by multiple blows to the head, said Hendersonville police Lt. Frank McCoy.

″There was no evidence of a fracture, which may indicate the blows were not as brutal as originally thought,″ he said. ″There could have been any number of forces responsible for that trauma, so we are still dealing with the possibilities that it was deliberately inflicted all the way to the other end of the spectrum that it was purely accidental.″

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