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Man accused of assaulting baby seeks lower bail

NASHUA — An attorney for the man accused of assaulting an infant baby so badly that it caused brain hemorrhaging is asking the court to reduce his client's bail.

Enrique Santiago Jr., 20, of Lawrence, Mass., has been held on $1 million cash-only bail since his arrest earlier this month. Police say Santiago repeatedly assaulted his girlfriend's son on several occasions in Nashua when he shook, squeezed and struck the baby, now 12 weeks old, in the head with an electronic tablet.

A probable cause hearing for Santiago took place Thursday at the 9th Circuit Court, Nashua District Division, at which time Santiago's legal counsel addressed the matter of bail.

"We did make a request to lower bail," said attorney Anthony Sculimbrene. "We asked that it be lowered to (personal recognizance) bail, or alternatively, $49,000 cash only."

Judge Thomas Bamberger did not make an immediate decision on the bail request Thursday morning, but said he would take it under advisement and make a ruling soon, according to Sculimbrene.

The testimonial portion of the probable cause hearing was bound over, he said, adding there is still a lot of information to review in the case.

"This is just the start of that review," said Sculimbrene. "This is a 20-year-old kid. He has no prior record that we are aware of."

Sculimbrene said he has met with Santiago twice, and also had the opportunity to meet with members of Santiago's family at Thursday's court hearing.

"They are pulling together," he said.

Meanwhile, the baby remains hospitalized following numerous assaults throughout the past two months.

Santiago has been charged with twelve counts of first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault for the repeated attacks on the baby boy, who is expected to survive but could have lasting disabilities, according to police.

The baby's mother, Maria Tata, 25, of 43 Arlington St., Apt. B, left her child in the care of Santiago when she went to work the day after Christmas. She took the baby to the hospital later that day after returning home. It was determined that he had numerous fractures, head trauma, brain hemorrhaging and multiple seizures.

"Mr. Santiago made admissions to becoming frustrated that (the baby) wouldn't stop crying, and picked up the pillow which he knew had his tablet inside the pillowcase. Mr. Santiago stated that he purposely swung the pillow in (the baby's) direction with the intention of striking him in the torso or lower body area to startle the infant with hopes that he would stop crying," says court records.

After he hit the boy in the head with the tablet, the baby continued crying, Santiago told police, adding he then picked up the baby to rock him, at which time the infant "slipped out of his arms," says a police affidavit.

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