Queens couple charged in daughter's death

March 12, 2008 6:34:48 PM PDT
The parents of a 2-month-old girl who was battered so brutally and shaken so violently that her bones were broken and her eyes were damaged were charged Wednesday in her death, prosecutors said. When the baby, Annie Li, was declared brain dead on Oct. 26, 2007, she had a fractured skull, broken legs and a healing rib fracture, they said.

Her father, Hang Bin Li, was charged with murder, manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child, and her mother, Ying Li, was charged with manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown's office said.

Hang Bin Li could face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, and Ying Li could face up to 15 years.

The father's lawyer, Michael Anastasiou, and the mother's lawyer, Michelle Armstrong, did not immediately return telephone messages left at their offices after their clients' arraignments.

Annie, who received at least two "non-accidental" blows to the head, suffered "grave physical injuries for anyone, let alone an infant less than 3 months of age," including brain and eye damage, Brown said.

"It is shocking to consider that her parents are charged with inflicting such brutality and suffering on one as young and innocent as their own child," he said.

Authorities said the father told a friend on the afternoon of Oct. 22 that the baby was sick. At 8 p.m., they said, the friend noticed Annie sweating, not moving her arms or legs and making distressed gurgling sounds.

Instead of seeking immediate medical attention for the girl, the parents called relatives in China to discuss her condition, Brown said.

A 911 call was finally placed around 1 a.m., and Annie was placed on life support at a hospital.

If Annie had received medical attention earlier, she might have survived, Brown said.

Hang Bin Li later told police through an interpreter he had accidentally bumped the baby's head on a night stand just before placing the 911 call, prosecutors said. But medical authorities said that could not have caused such catastrophic injuries.