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A Washington Township man convicted in the fatal assault of a 2-year-old boy four years ago will get a new trial.

Ronald Dimambro, Jr., 30, who is serving life in prison on first-degree child abuse and first-degree murder convictions, will get a new trial in the 2013 death of Damian Sutton, the son of his ex-girlfriend, in Macomb County Circuit Court.

The Michigan Supreme Court in a 4-3 opinion Friday denied a leave to appeal filed by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, simply stating “we are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.”

The prosecutor’s office was appealing a December ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals that affirmed an opinion by Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Faunce to order a new trial.

Thirty-two autopsy photographs were not provided during the trial.

Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra, who wrote the dissenting opinion, stated that he would “remand this case to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration of the materiality of the photographs in relation to the totality of the evidence presented at trial.”

Neither attorneys for the prosecutor’s office nor Dimambro could be immediately reached.

Dimambro was convicted in 2014 in the death of Damian, who along with his mother were living in the home of Dimambro’s parents.

Damian was in the care of Dimambro at the time of the alleged assault in August 2013 while his mother was at work.

Damian was taken off life support and died from blunt-force trauma to his head six days after authorities said Dimambro assaulted him at the family home.

Medical experts testified Damian’s injuries were not accidental. During a police interview shown to the jury, Dimambro admitted that he shook Damian. His attorney told jurors that numerous injuries to Damian’s head in the days leading up the incident, including a fall from a stool the day before, could have been contributing factors in his death.

Dimambro appealed and while his appeal was pending, the state appellate court granted in 2015 his motion to remand the case for an evidentiary hearing for a new trial.

He argued ineffective counsel and that nearly three dozen photographs from the county medical examiner had not previously been provided to the prosecution or defense.

Faunce granted his motion for a new trial, an opinion that came out in January 2016. The prosecutor’s office filed a motion for reconsideration, but Faunce denied its request in March 2016.

In April 2016, the prosecutor’s office appealed Faunce’s opinion to approve a new trial and her order denying its motion for reconsideration.

The appellate court in its majority opinion said the trial court properly granted Dimambro’s motion for a new trial “because the prosecution’s failure to disclose the 32 photographs constituted a Brady violation.”

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Contact Christina Hall: chall99@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.

 

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