C. FRANCES ASCHLIMAN
TO CIRCUIT COURT. Above, from left, Ronald Dimambro of Washington Township and his defense attorney, Randy Rodnick, listen as Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith speaks during a preliminary exam held Nov. 13 at the 42-1 District Court in Romeo. Dimambro's case will move to Macomb County Circuit Court later this month. He is being charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse following the death of 2-year-old Damian Sutton.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
Dimambro sent to circuit
court for death of child
by CHRIS GRAY
The case against Ronald Dimambro Jr. for the death of 2-year-old Damian Sutton will head to the Macomb County Circuit Court.
Observer Staff Writer
Judge Denis LeDuc of the 42-1 District Court determined Dimambro, 26, of Washington Township would be bound over to the circuit court following a two-hour preliminary examination on Nov. 13.
"I am satisfied the people have demonstrated probable cause on all the necessary elements for child abuse first degree and felony murder," LeDuc said.
An arraignment was set for Nov. 25 at the circuit court.
Dimambro was established as being the sole caretaker of Sutton on Aug. 21 when he called 911 claiming the 2-year-old was having an asthma attack. According to testimony from Mike MacKenzie, a paramedic from Washington Township Fire Department, he found Sutton face-down with his arms and legs outstretched.
"He was critically ill, he needed advanced care right away," he said.
Sutton was rushed to Henry Ford Macomb and then transferred to Children's Hospital of Michigan. He was removed from life support on Aug. 27.
Under questioning from County Prosecutor Eric Smith, County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz said his autopsy concluded the death was homicidal in nature and caused by blunt force trauma to the head.
"These injuries, in my opinion, are not accidental and they indicated inflicted trauma and would have to be inflicted by another individual," Spitz said.
He said there was evidence of two impacts on the right side of Sutton's head that came from a forceful impact against a floor or solid object. He said Sutton had brain swelling and bleeding.
Randy Rodnick, Dimambro's attorney, indicated there was no evidence supporting whether the injuries were sustained from Sutton being struck. He also said there was no evidence in the home like blood or damage to walls or floors.
"I have no proof of that, there is nothing significant when they looked at the house," he said.
He suggested that Sutton's death could've resulted from incidents that occurred a day or two prior when Sutton fell from atop a tall stool and possibly a phone book.
Spitz said the severity of Sutton's injuries would cause symptoms like altered levels of consciousness or labored breathing to appear "within a period of seconds to minutes."
Nicole Sutton, Damian's mother and then-girlfriend to Dimambro, testified that when she left the Dimambro residence to work at Younger's Irish Tavern on Aug. 21 that her son was "perfectly fine."
The teary mother said when Sutton fell from the stool that he only cried for a moment because he was scared from the fall.
"He wasn't crying really, he wanted to go play outside, he was fine," she said.
Detective Eric Ehrler of the county sheriff's office said Dimambro changed his story during an interview on Aug. 21 that lasted more than an hour. He said Dimambro first claimed that Sutton was acting fine and had an asthma attack.
Ehrler said Dimambro later admitted to holding Sutton when he "fumbled him like a football" and dropped him on his head, but he seemed fine. In the interview, he said he placed Sutton in his bed and noticed 20 minutes later he was limp.
"He (Dimambro) just kept adding more pieces of the situation to whatever statement it was at the time," he said.
Ehrler testified that Dimambro said Sutton was "fussy and crying and whining" and slightly shook Sutton for 20 to 30 seconds to stop him. Spitz didn't believe shaken baby syndrome was the primary cause of the injuries.
Smith said Nicole is beating herself up for not being home that day, but that the only thing that can be done now is to move forward with the proceedings.
"At the end of this, we will do everything we can to make sure he spends the rest of his time behind bars," Smith said.
Rodnick did not call any witnesses to the stand.
Dimambro is being held at Macomb County Jail without bond.