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story.lead_photo.caption Shomari Kevorkian Center Sr., 25, is accused of causing injuries that proved fatal for his son, Shomari Center Jr. Submitted photo

TEXARKANA, Texas — The question of who represents a Texarkana father accused of murder in his infant son's December 2018 death was discussed at a pretrial hearing this week in Bowie County.

Shomari Kevorkian Center Sr., 25, is accused of causing injuries that proved fatal for his son, Shomari Center Jr. Following Center's indictment earlier this year, 202nd District Judge John Tidwell appointed Texarkana lawyer Jeff Harrelson to the case. At a pretrial hearing last month, Little Rock lawyer Ron Davis appeared with Harrelson and said he had been retained to take over Center's defense.

Davis said then that he had not formally entered notice because he is not licensed to practice in Texas. Lawyers who wish to handle out-of-state cases may easily do so with sponsorship from a colleague licensed in the state at issue. As of Wednesday, Davis has not entered a notice of appearance or a request to appear as an out-of-state attorney with a Texas lawyer's sponsorship.

Davis did not return a call from the Gazette on Wednesday.

Davis was not present at Monday's hearing. Harrelson was in court and said he turned over his file and discovery — copies of evidence the state intends to use against Center at trial — to Davis at Center's last court appearance. When asked by Tidwell, Center said he has not had any contact with Davis since the last hearing.

Harrelson is still listed as Center's attorney of record. Tidwell asked First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp to send Harrelson a new copy of the discovery in Center's case if Davis has not entered an appearance within 10 days of Monday's hearing.

Tidwell scheduled the case for a pretrial hearing next month. Center faces five to 99 years or life in prison if convicted.

Emergency responders were called Dec. 5 to the 1000 block of College Drive in Texarkana, Texas, regarding a baby who wasn't breathing. Center allegedly told police that he'd walked from his home in the 2800 block of Texas Boulevard to College looking for help.

Officers immediately started CPR and the unresponsive infant was taken to CHRISTUS St. Michael Health Center for treatment before being airlifted to Children's Medical Center in Little Rock. The 2-month-old died Dec. 9.

The Bowie County District Attorney's Office sought Center's indictment after a medical examiner's report received in mid-April ruled the death a homicide. The baby suffered from multiple rib fractures in various stages of healing, a sign that the child suffered abuse on more than one occasion. The child died of a brain injury caused by blunt force trauma.

Center is being held in the Bowie County jail.

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