Father accused of beating infant son says he is innocent - 8 News NOW

Father accused of beating infant son says he is innocent

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  • Mother speaks about child's beating death

    Mother speaks about child's beating death

    Thursday, May 1 2014 1:13 AM EDT2014-05-01 05:13:50 GMT
    A 4-month-old baby boy is dead, and police believe he died at the hands of his own father. The boy's mother spoke exclusively with 8 News NOW about the beating death.More>>
    A 4-month-old baby boy is dead, and police believe he died at the hands of his own father. The boy's mother spoke exclusively with 8 News NOW about the beating death.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- The man accused of beating his infant son talked to 8 News NOW about the accusations against him.

Zachary Rich, 25 of Las Vegas, is accused of injuring his 4-month-old son Draven. The boy later died from those injuries. During an interview Wednesday from the Clark County Detention Center, Rich said he does not know what happened to his baby boy. 

"Literally, I'm an innocent man walking the plank," Rich said.

Rich says the boy's mother, 24-year-old Cassie Kierstead, was taking care of him before she brought him to his house so she could go out with friends. 

According to the police report, Rich tried contacting Kierstead several times throughout the night after finding that Draven was not responding, but according to Rich, she did not respond to his text messages. He described the boy as being "limp." 

Finally, Rich called his roommate for help.

"I screamed 'help' and my roommate Candace came in. She sees me giving him CPR. And the phone is laying there next to me, but every second is crucial," Rich said.

The boy was rushed to the hospital. Doctors said he had internal injuries and severe brain damage along with several strokes. Doctors say the boy went blind and wouldn't survive.

The baby died several days later. Kierstead decided to take him off life support the day after Easter. She told 8 News NOW she wanted to spend one holiday with him. 

During the interview from jail, Rich blamed Kierstead and a friend who had the baby in the day before he was rushed to the hospital. He says the two use methanphetamine together. In the police report, Rich admitted to using marijuana and methanphetamine in the 48 hours before his arrest.

He claims Kierstead is known for having "fits of rage." 

"I really hope she wouldn't do this. But, to me, it doesn't make sense how my son left on Monday perfectly fine and then comes home on Tuesday and has these symptoms that we've never seen, ever," Rich said.

Rich says he was devastated by Draven's death. He is also upset at what his imprisonment means for his other two children, who are 7 and 4 years old.

"They are, like, definitely taking this hard because their father has just been snatched away from them and it doesn't make sense," Rich said.

The young father says he plans on pleading not guilty to the charges.
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