WINCHESTER — A man accused of blinding and beating his 4-month-old daughter was denied bond in Frederick Circuit Court Tuesday.
Besides injuries that doctors said made her legally blind, the infant sustained broken ribs and legs, according to Kristen G. Zalenski, a county assistant commonwealth's attorney. Prior to being arrested on Sept. 29, she said Joshua Michael Reed made Google searches about avoiding arrest and extradition and about ways to commit suicide.
“He is facing life imprisonment," Zalenski told Judge Alexander R. Iden in arguing against bond. "The allegations are that he abused her so badly she suffered broken ribs, permanent blindness and a fractured tibia. If that is what he is willing to do to a 4-month-old baby, I don’t want to think what he might do to the commonwealth’s witnesses.”
Reed, 37, of the 300 block of Iroquois Trail in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, was charged with malicious wounding and two counts each of child abuse and child cruelty. He was indicted on Sept. 9 and the indictments alleged the purported abuse occurred between Jan. 16 and April 25.
Zalenski previously said Winchester Medical Center staff reported the injuries to police before the infant was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax County. She was later transferred to UVA Children's Hospital. Zalenski said Tuesday that the baby, now in the custody of relatives, was in Reed's care just before being hospitalized.
Besides Googling about avoiding arrest, extradition and inquiring about suicide methods, Zalenski said Reed inquired about the penalties for child abuse. In addition to being a danger to the community, she said he was a flight risk.
But defense attorney Thomas L. Fox said there could be reasonable explanations for a person expecting to face charges to have made the Google searches. He noted Reed was not the child's primary caregiver, has no criminal record, has regularly been employed and has ties to the community. He said the case against Reed is circumstantial and speculative.
"I don't disagree that there are serious injuries to this child, but it's a bit of a stretch to say he did it," Fox told Iden. "Don't fall into the trap of thinking the court can read the defendant's mind based on Google searches."
However, Iden said that in addition to Reed living out of state if released on bond, he was troubled by the online searches.
"It's not just a couple of searches," he said. "It's a series of searches including how do I get away."
Reed was being held at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center on Tuesday night. He is due back in court at 9 a.m. on Nov. 5.