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A father accused of murder in the December death of his three-month-old son pleaded not guilty at a hearing Monday in Bowie County.

Shomari Kevorkian Center Sr. appeared without a lawyer before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell for arraignment Monday morning. Center asked for a court-appointed lawyer and Tidwell assigned the Bowie County Public Defenders office to the case. With the help of a public defender, Center entered a plea of not guilty to the charge stemming from the death of his son, Shomari Center Jr.

Shomari Center

First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards are handling the prosecution.

Tidwell scheduled the case for a pretrial hearing June 17.

Emergency responders were called Dec. 5 to the 1000 block of College Drive in Texarkana, Texas, regarding a baby who wasn't breathing, according to a press statement issued by Texarkana, Texas, police. 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.

Court records show that Center was arrested by TTPD for a family violence assault March 31 and released April 2 on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond.

Center's bail in the murder case is set at $1 million. If convicted of murder in the death of his infant son, Center faces five to 99 years or life in prison.

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