A 20-year-old man accused of killing his girlfriend’s baby spoke exclusively to Fox59 from jail Tuesday and said it was an accident for which he is sorry.
Police were called to the 3600 block of North Euclid Avenue on Valentine’s Day where 4-month-old Nichole Williams was found unresponsive in Jared Tapley’s care. She died on Saturday at Riley Hospital from blunt force trauma after suffering from several brain and head injuries.
Tapley was arrested and charged with murder and battery.
He told Metro Police detectives he was babysitting Nichole for his girlfriend that day as he had several times before. He told Fox59, he never had any problems taking care of Nichole.
“It was fine taking care of the baby ’cause she really didn’t get on, she didn’t get on my nerves or anything,” he said.
This time, however, Nichole stopped breathing and he said he called 911.
Coincidentally, the EMT working on her that night was Timothy McCormick. He and his partner would die just two days later in a tragic ambulance crash.
Court documents reveal, Tapley first told the baby’s mother that she was on the living room floor and a Jenga box may have fallen off the coffee table and hit her head.
However, the doctor on the case said, “It is not plausible that the Jenga box could have caused Nichole’s devastating brain injuries.”
Tapley changed his story and told police the girl accidentally fell out of his hands and hit her head on the coffee table as he played with her.
He told Fox59 the same story.
“I was playing with her and she fell outta my hand and hit her head on the table and I didn’t know what happened. I just heard her crying,” he explained. “I picked her up and put her on the um, put her pacifier in her mouth, put her on her stomach, went downstairs for a little bit and came back upstairs and that’s when that happened.”
Police didn’t buy his story. During questioning, detectives noticed Tapley was wearing a large IHSAA State Championship basketball ring on his right hand. They believe the ring could have left the mark found on Nichole’s forehead.
Tapley told Fox59, he would never have intentionally hurt Nichole.
“I loved her like she was my own baby and I wouldn’t do anything to intentionally hurt her,” he said. “I’m just sorry for whatever happened. I’m not the type of person that’d do anything to a baby on purpose, intentionally. I really did love that baby.”
Tapley will have his first court appearance on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.