North Philly dad gets life for killing baby son

Posted: July 25, 2014

CLAVOND GALLOP chose to have a judge rather than a jury of his peers decide his fate for allegedly beating to death his 11-month-old son, Joshua, on Nov. 21, 2009.

Jurors, most being untrained in the law, could have reacted harshly to testimony about the baby being beaten so severely that a piece of his skull was displaced.

Jurors also likely would have been incensed upon hearing Philadelphia Deputy Medical Examiner Gary Collins testify about how Joshua's torso was bruised by at least 30 blows landed by his killer.

In the end, Gallop's decision to be tried by a judge didn't help him at all.

Common Pleas Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd, just seconds after the trial ended yesterday, found Gallop, 45, guilty of first-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child. He then sentenced him to life in state prison without parole.

"It was a brutal, purposeful, rage against an 11-month-old. It was coldhearted, to say the least, and callous," Assistant District Attorney Gwenn Cujdik said after leaving court.

Defense attorney William Bowe argued during the trial that Gallop did not commit first-degree murder because he could not form the specific intent to kill due to being high on a cocktail of illicit drugs at the time of the murder.

Although Gallop did not testify, others gave contradictory recollections of his behavior and character.

Karen Brown, Joshua's mother, testified that Gallop never beat the baby nor the couple's daughter, but he did shove the boy and call him names.

She also said he hit her in the mouth, causing her to leave the family's North Philadelphia home on Edgley Street two weeks before the murder, she said.

Brown said she was a recovering crack-cocaine and weed addict, and that she and Gallop began dating after meeting in a substance-abuse treatment program in 2005.

Police Officer Joseph Marrero testified that he was in "shock" after Gallop "chuckled" when he told him the child was not doing well after being rushed to the hospital.

"He just seemed to be nonchalant and emotionless," Marrero said of Gallop.

Brown and her aunt, Dahlia Thompson, both noted that while Gallop never showed much love to Joshua, he was kind and attentive to his daughter, who was 3 when Joshua died.

Cujdik said family members told her that Gallop's animosity toward Joshua may have stemmed from his belief that the child did not look like him and due to frustration over having to care for the children alone after Brown left him.

The prosecutor said the beating he gave Joshua was "overkill" and included severely shaking the child, causing hemorrhaging of the optic nerve. The child also had healing blisters on the bottom of his feet, possibly caused by burning, she said.

Joshua lay in his crib dying or dead for hours before Gallop called 9-1-1, Cujdik said, based on his body temperature of just 84 degrees when paramedics found him.

The child was pronounced dead at the hospital.

On Twitter: @MensahDean

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