A Dorchester County judge ruled Friday during a preliminary hearing that there is enough evidence to try a man whose 2-month-old son died after being mauled by a dog inside the family’s home.
The man’s attorney said he is not surprised.
“Getting it dismissed at a preliminary hearing is very uphill,” said Andy Savage. “It’s a high-profile case and everybody wants to do the right thing, so the easiest thing to do is let a grand jury decide or a trial decide.”
Quintin McGrew, 28, of Sandpit Drive in Ridgeville, was charged by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office with unlawful conduct toward a child after the April 20 death of his son, Aiden Levi McGrew.
The warrant maintains that McGrew put his child at unreasonable risk by leaving him in the living room by himself while McGrew slept in a bedroom.
Aiden was mauled by a dog the family had adopted six days earlier.
McGrew is free from jail on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond.
After the preliminary hearing, Magistrate Katrina Patton said that whether McGrew put the baby at an “unreasonable risk” is a question for a jury, and bound the case for trial.
The case will now be heard by a Dorchester County grand jury.
During the hearing, sheriff’s Detective Dwayne Peters described the events of the day as he knows them:
McGrew was sleeping in a bedroom with another child and one of the family’s dogs while Aiden was unbuckled in a “bouncy seat” that was on the floor of the family’s living room, about 12 feet away, Peters said.
McGrew’s wife, Chantel, had left to take an older child to the doctor. Chantel McGrew called 911 when she returned home and found the injured baby.
Peters became emotional while describing the infant’s injuries, which included a severed leg and several bite marks.
“This did not happen over a few seconds,” he said.
Peters said he believes the tragedy could have been prevented if McGrew had stayed awake, if the baby had been placed in a bassinet or crib, and if the family had taken precautions with the dog.
He also said he didn’t believe McGrew intentionally set out to kill his baby.
Savage said the case is subjective. He pointed out that the McGrews tested negative for alcohol and controlled substances.
He talked about Facebook messages between McGrew and the dog’s former owner that called the canine a “great family dog,” and said there was no history of violence with the family’s other dog or baby chicks that were in the house. The children were given the chicks as an Easter present.
Savage also gave examples of the McGrews’ fitness as parents to Aiden and their two older children, both of whom have health issues.
Custody of those children was given to their maternal grandmother after the incident, but Savage said he expects them to be back with their parents within two weeks.
“There is no evidence this was an intentional and unreasonable act,” he said. “It was a horrible event, but that doesn’t mean it’s criminal.”
After the hearing, Savage said the McGrews were being judged based on their economic status.
“Not every working poor family has a crib in their house,” he said. “This was a very loving, caring family. Now if you look at it through the prism of someone who has a lot of money, you can say, ‘Why did they do this?’ and ‘Why did they do that?’ It’s a matter of resources, and they shouldn’t be criminally prosecuted for having limited resources.”
Savage said there have been two other cases of babies mauled by dogs in recent months, and no charges were filed in those cases.
“This doesn’t have any place in the criminal system,” he said. “If anything, (Department of Social Services) should handle this and make sure that nothing criminal happened and ensure that the children are fully protected.”