Monday, April 12, 2010 | 11:16 a.m.
The arraignment for a 24-year-old Henderson man accused of killing his girlfriend's 16-month-old daughter has been delayed until Tuesday so a homicide attorney from the public defender's office can take over the case.
Cody Geddings is charged with murder by child abuse with substantial bodily harm and was arrested after the girl died April 2.
Geddings appeared in Henderson Justice Court this morning in front of Justice of the Peace Stephen George for his scheduled arraignment. He said he couldn't afford an attorney and wanted to be represented by the public defender's office. George reset the hearing for 9 a.m. Tuesday to allow the public defender's office to select an attorney for the case.
Family members and friends of the 16-month-old girl, identified as Addison Weast, attended the hearing this morning wearing purple ribbons and T-shirts with the girl's picture. Addison's grandmother, Lurleene Weast, fought back tears when Geddings entered the courtroom.
"He stole our baby," she said.
Police said Addison was taken to St. Rose de Lima Hospital at 1:40 p.m. March 31 after suffering head injuries. Her mother, 19-year-old Jaime Higgons, said Addison had fallen from her crib, but police said the severity of the injuries were inconsistent with that explanation.
According to a Henderson Police arrest report, Higgons told authorities her boyfriend was babysitting the toddler when the injury occurred. Geddings told officers the girl had a seizure while she was in her playpen. He then said Addison had been playing near a wobbly chair in the backyard of his home, and that a full-sized acetylene gas cylinder fell on her.
Addison was taken from St. Rose de Lima Hospital to UMC's trauma unit for surgery. At the time the girl was transported, her vital signs were stable, but police say it became apparent she had suffered possible head or spinal injuries. At UMC, doctors discovered that the child’s skull had been shattered above her right ear, causing hemorrhaging in her brain, police said.
According to the arrest report, Geddings didn't call 911 or make any calls for medical help.
Geddings told police that he placed the child next to her playpen to make it appear as if she had fallen out because he feared he would be blamed. Court records indicate Geddings has also been arrested in connection with the abuse and neglect of his own son.
He told police that his relationship with his former wife was sometimes violent. He admitted to sometimes losing his temper and explained that in previous fits of rage, he hit walls and had broken windows. He said he knows he can lose his temper, the police report said.
The maximum sentence Geddings could receive on a child endangerment charge for his abuse of his son is a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. He was released from custody in July after posting $3,000 bail, court records show. He is currently being held in the Henderson Detention Center without bail.
Donations for Addison's hospital and funeral expenses are being accepted at the Central Christian Church, 1001 New Beginnings Drive, in Henderson.