Ex-Con Admits Shaking Baby, but Cops Frustrated by Wait for Autopsy

By Murray Weiss on February 26, 2013 6:38am | Updated on February 26, 2013 8:02am

 J.W. Hicks allegedly told cops he shook 5-month-old Jacob Agusto.
J.W. Hicks allegedly told cops he shook 5-month-old Jacob Agusto.
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DNAinfo

CLASON POINT — An ex-con suspected of murdering his girlfriend’s 5-month-old son told investigators he shook the infant because the baby was not eating, DNAinfo.com New York has learned.

J.W. Hicks, 46, has not been charged with the death of Jacob Agusto in the 619 Beach Ave. apartment he shared with the boy's mother. Instead, he was arrested on Feb. 15 and charged with throwing a punch at cops when he was being questioned.

Jacob was alone with Hicks while his mother, Ebony Agusto, 24, was out cashing a tax check and running errands in the neighborhood. When she returned at 2:10 p.m., she was met at the door by Hicks, who is not Jacob's biological father.

"Your son is not breathing," Hicks allegedly said, according to police.

The mother went inside and found Jacob unconscious on the bed.

Hicks was charged with resisting arrest and attempted assault and was released without bail. He has yet to be formally accused of killing baby Jacob.

“He admitted shaking the baby” but denied killing the boy, a law enforcement source said. “Hicks said he shook the child because the child was having trouble eating.”

Shaken baby syndrome cases can be difficult to prove. Usually there are no witnesses and the suspects "always say they dropped the baby or something else occurred.”

In Agusto’s case, investigators have expressed frustration that they have had to wait for autopsy and medical tests to be completed in order for them to slap a murder charge on Hicks.

"He's a monster," a source said, noting that Hicks has a lengthy arrest record of more than 100 collars dating back nearly a quarter-century.

In 1983, for example, he was sent to state prison for four years for his role in the shooting and stabbing of a suspected gang member during a battle between rivals on Staten Island. He has also done time for robberies in Manhattan and for selling drugs in The Bronx.

Experts on shaken baby syndrome say it takes enormous, unconscionable force to shake and kill an infant. Their brain is literally repeatedly struck against the inside of the skull, one expert explained, and the violence is often accompanied by broken ribs that are injured when the assailant is compressing the child's chest while shaking.

“People can’t wrap their minds around how much force it takes to cause shaken baby syndrome,” the expert, a former top NYPD special victims investigator, said.

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