PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Multnomah County jury found a 29-year-old man guilty of assaulting his three-month old son back in summer of 2015.
The unanimously jury found that Awes Sheikhuna assaulted his son on June 15, 2015 when the boy was left in his father’s care. Investigators said Sheikhuna brought his two boys into his pediatrician’s office for a previously scheduled office visit.
The doctor reported that the three-month old boy was “alert, happy and was easily consoled.”
Later that evening, a 911 call was placed by Sheikhuna who said his son was not breathing and that he couldn’t resuscitate him. Paramedics who responded reported that Sheikhuna appeared “unemotional.” The timeline of events Sheikhuna provided to investigators didn’t match up, prosecutors allege. The boy was “quite cold and dry to the touch,” although Sheikhuna told them he had put the boy into the shower to wake him up.
Doctors at OHSU were able to save Sheikhuna’s son, but he had suffered critical brain injuries. Prosecutors said he will be permanently disabled: he will not walk, eat or talk on his own, and he will need full time care for the rest of his life.
Sheikhuna was born in Somalia and moved to the United States, according to court records. The case generated more than 20,000 pages of medical records and police reports.
Sheikhuna’s defense attorney maintains that there was no record of how the baby was injured. “…is the State alleging that [Sheikhuna] shook [the child]? That he hit [the child] with his first or an object? That he dropped [the child]?…The state has provided the defense no information as to the specific method of abuse.”
Prosecutors intend to seek an upward departure sentence for Sheikhuna – meaning they would like a judge to give him a harsher penalty than what would typically come for someone convicted of first-degree assault.
In court documents, prosecutors wrote Sheikhuna’s son will have permanent injury for the rest of his life and that “this level of injury far surpasses what would normally be required to prove serious physical injury.”
Sentencing for Sheikhuna will be held Oct. 3 at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Bronson D. James.
At the time of his arraignment in June 2015, members of the Somali community rallied outside the justice center chanting “he is a good father.” The boy’s mother attended the rally, and speaking through a translator, told KOIN 6 News that she believed Sheikhuna was not guilty.
Sheikhuna has a pending case that charges him with three counts of encouraging child sexual abuse. A trial date has not been set.
Deputy district attorneys Amanda Nadell and Amity Girt prosecuted the assault case against Sheikhuna. The case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Child Abuse Team.