Man admitted shaking infant, police say

A Burbank detective on Tuesday testified that a 20-year-old Burbank man accused of killing his five-week-old daughter said in an interview that he shook the baby out of frustration that she wouldn't stop crying or go to sleep.

Matthew Wojcik, a graduate of Glendale High School, was charged with one count each of murder, child abuse and assault on a child becoming comatose after his daughter Violet Wojcik was taken off life support just more than two weeks after being admitted to the hospital with head injuries and numerous broken bones.

Burbank Police Det. Celia Hawver testified at Wojcik's preliminary hearing Tuesday that during an interview before his arrest, the morning after Violet was admitted, he told her that he felt like he had "lost control" and felt frustrated that the baby wouldn't stop crying or go to sleep. He reportedly admitted at the time to shaking the baby three times — once the night before the interview, and twice prior.

Wojcik also told her he "felt like he was the devil," and couldn't believe what he had done to the baby, Hawver testified, adding that he demonstrated how he shook the baby using a teddy bear at the police station.

Initially, though, he had told detectives that he had "no idea" how the baby sustained the injuries, she said.

Medical staff later told Hawver that the injuries included neck and bone fractures that were "almost too many to count," as well as swelling and bleeding in the brain. The broken bones, Hawver said, were reportedly in various stages of healing.

Wojcik's attorney Amy Loeliger declined to comment.

Wojcik and Violet's mother, Elizabeth Carter, 23, reportedly lived at Carter's grandmother's Burbank home before and after the baby was born. The pair shared a bedroom and took shifts caring for the baby. Wojcik's shift was from midnight to 6 a.m., since he had trouble sleeping at night, Hawver said during her testimony.

The parents took Violet to the hospital around 6 a.m. on Oct. 23, 2012, after Wojcik noticed her gasping for air and woke up Carter. The baby died on Nov. 9, 2012 after being taken off life support.

Testimony in Wojcik's case was slated to continue on Wednesday, after which the judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial.

Meanwhile, Carter pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment earlier this month and was sentenced to four years of probation, officials said. A judge also reportedly ordered her to register in a child abuse education program. Her attorney could not immediately be reached.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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