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Posted on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Man accused of breaking infant son's ribs bound over to circuit court on child abuse charges

By John Counts


Briton Morrison

Courtesy of WCSO

A 28-year-old Pittsfield Township man accused of breaking several of his then 2-month-old son's ribs was bound over to circuit court Friday on three first-degree child abuse charges.

Testimony from a doctor and a police detective at a preliminary examination in the 15th District Court Friday suggested Briton Morrison squeezed his infant son too hard and fractured seven ribs.

The now 3-month-old boy is doing fine and remains with Child Protective Services, according to prosecutors.

Pittsfield police Det. James Maudlin testified Morrison confessed that he sometimes lost his temper and may have squeezed the baby too hard unintentionally while trying to get him to go to the bathroom. Morrison became emotional during his confession and said he was overwhelmed with fatherhood and wished he'd taken parenting classes, Maudlin said.

Dr. Bethany Mohr, the medical director for the Child Protection Team at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, testified the infant had an unusually high amount of antacid in his system. Mohr also said the broken ribs were clear signs of child abuse.

Judge Joseph Burke bound Morrison over on all three original charges despite a request from Morrison's attorney, Assistant Washtenaw County Public Defender Christopher Renna, for a bind over on only one second-degree charge. Renna argued the prosecution didn't have enough proof that Morrison intended to injure the baby.

Morrison was arraigned on the charges in October after an X-ray of the infant revealed the broken bones and police were sent to Mott hospital to investigate.

Mohr said the baby was first brought to the emergency room on Oct. 15. Test results revealed he had 75 milligrams of Zantac in his system.

"(It's) a large dose. It's not something we'd give a baby that age," said Mohr. "He had X-rays done and numerous fractures were found."

Mohr, who also is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan, testified there was a bruise on the baby's neck and that the piece of skin connecting the upper lip to the gums was torn.

Since a 2-month-old baby cannot walk or roll over on its own, these types of injuries were suspicious, which is why the Child Abuse Team was called in, Mohr said.

"(The rib fractures) typically occur from some type of trauma," she added. "Somebody else would have to be involved. The injuries were a result of physical abuse. Any ... person would not accidentally break their baby's bones."

Police from Pittsfield Township, where Morrison and the baby's mother Mira Dressel reside, were dispatched to the hospital to investigate. The alleged child abuse is said to have occurred at the couple's apartment in the 3100 block of Woodland Hills.

Maudlin said he interviewed Dressel who indicated that "if there was physical abuse, it was inflicted by the father."

Morrison was taken into custody at the hospital and taken to the police department for questioning, Maudlin testified.

"He was upset," Maudlin said. "He said he had no idea why (we) wanted to talk to him. He said he had no idea about the condition of (the baby)."

Maudlin said during police questioning, Morrison told officers he wasn't getting any sleep because he worked a midnight shift. By the time he got home from work, he'd only get two hours of sleep and then have to get up to take care of his son, who was suffering from constipation.

Maudlin testified that Morrison told investigators he chewed up antacid tablets, spit them in a water bottle and fed it to the infant to soothe the baby's stomach. Morrison also broke into tears and said that he would never intentionally hurt his son and that he wished he had taken parenting classes, according to Maudlin.

When Morrison was asked if he was too rough with his infant son, Maudlin testified that Morrison confessed that maybe he was.

Morrison stood mute on the charges and a not-guilty plea was entered for him. He is being held at the Washtenaw County Jail on a $200,000 cash bond. A pretrial hearing before Judge David Swartz in the Washtenew County Trial Court is scheduled for Jan. 17.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Mon, Jan 21, 2013 : 8:42 a.m.

I think that, the "then 2 month old" child who was brought to the emergency room on Oct 15, and whose father was arraigned in October would now be about 5 months old, not 3 months old. I also heard that the injuries were more than just broken ribs.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 6:05 a.m.

Gastrointestinal side effects have included constipation, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and rare reports of pancreatitis. Rebound acid hypersecretion has been reported after discontinuation of therapy. A case report of coinfection with Giardia lamblia and Clostridium difficile has been attributed to the achlorhydria induced by ranitidine (the active ingredient contained in Zantac) predisposing the patient to the enteric infection.– Okay, so it's "just an antacid" and there is a for-children version. Look at the above list of harmful side effects and you can't help but wonder why this baby had a "high dose" to begin with. Babies - can't "report" such effects to the FDA or anyone. No, in fact babies have no defense against being given anything to ingest. The father wishes he'd taken parenting classes? I'd say he needs that and more. But then, I find it hard to believe that carrying a baby without breaking that baby's ribs is all that hard a task.

Mulberry Bank

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

Squeezed hard enough to break cartilage?! Medicating a baby with out medical advice?! I do not care how remorseful the father is. I hope this 'family' never have access to this baby again! My husband has been ranting that there are no young 'men' any more. Considers them all pussies and infantiles themselves. Reading of all theses males harming their children makes me think hubby is correct. Of course I cannot understand what kind of 'mother' allows their babies to be in the care of these dangerously selfish males. May the baby heal and be placed in a loving family.


Fri, Dec 14, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

This has nothing to do with female misogyny or male vs female parenting. You and your husband must not know many "young males".


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

You do not need any "parenting" classes to know that it is wrong to squeeze a baby so hard that his ribs break.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

I have little tolerance for child abuse but for some odd reason am happy to see the father actually own up to it and showing remorse. He still has some serious issues and should not be allowed around kids. Normally the abuser denies everything and doesn't take responsibilty and shows no remorse and I think that sociopathic personality is what is real sickening in most cases.


Thu, Jan 24, 2013 : 4:41 a.m.

I think you are right on, although the exception is the very savvy abuser who realizes that not only is his back against the wall but, he is in a corner. Then he shows remorse and partially owns up to it. Only to rescind and regress at a more convenient time. Abusers are expert manipulators and con-artists. They can be good for a time and in more superficial relationships. But, when it comes down to it, it is rare for one to change their spots.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 8:25 a.m.

Wow, this is disgusting, evil. Sadly this is just one of many children born into a "family" that could care less.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 5:51 a.m.

My baby is 18 months old and she recently fell and hit the corner of my tv stand and tore her frenulum (the skin attaching the upper lip to the gum) and she fell with alot of force so for this to happen to an infant, i'd say a bottle was shoved with alot of force into the baby's mouth. That's just my guess though! Also, who squeezes a baby to make it go to the bathroom?! I have always been told by my kids Dr to put a little Karo Syrup in their bottles! I truly hope that if this baby is allowed back with the parents that they both are ordered to go through some extensive parenting classes!


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:43 a.m.

I'm a mother of a 13 month old and I can't begin to imagine how anyone could touch an infant in such a way as to break ribs and separate the link of skin connecting the upper lip to the upper gums. Thank goodness someone had the mind to take this baby to the emergency room! I sincerely hope this child is never put in harm's way again and can be kept safe in a loving home. My heart just aches for this baby.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:13 a.m.

As a dad with two preschool age boys, I know that parenting can be stressful and test your patience. But to cause this kind of physical damage to your own child takes some serious immaturity. This (maturity) seems to be a rare commodity these days among people in my age range (late twenties). I honestly don't understand it.

Ann English

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

I thought constipation was an intestinal, not a stomach, condition. Infant Metamucil, or infant prune juice, if such drugs exist, would have been more effective than Zantac.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

I would never give a 2 month old infant ANY drug unless prescribed by his pediatrician. This child probably just needed more fluids.

Steven Murphy

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : midnight

I've been saying it for a long time now ... we need to have people go through intensive parenting classes and criminal background checks as well as be examined for genetic anomalies and such before they can receive certification to create duplicates of themselves. The way it would work is that when a young person would near puberty they'd go to a clinic and processing center ... and if they fail? Well, let's just say that's what the strong men with the gurney and tie-down straps are for. This business of adults doing these cruel and rotten things to babies and little kids needs to end.


Fri, Dec 14, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

Way to be realistic.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

OMG, I am so upset about ths story, I can't speak on it.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

We need a license to drive a car....


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

So the best we can say about Mr. Morrison, who is "upset", "said that he would never intentionally hurt his son", and "had no idea about the condition of the baby" is that he is careless and ignorant. How much sense does it take to know you don't squeeze an infant to make it go to the bathroom?!?! That poor child!

Randy Bell

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

Clearly some people should not be parents.

Randy Bell

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

If you have to resort to breaking your baby's ribs then maybe you should rethink having anymore children. You can't reasonably expect a helpless, defenseless infant to fight off his dad.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

Clearly, it's not clear until too late.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

Classes? . . . Licensing?. . . (more) Governmental oversight. . . There was a time when the best training to be a parent was to grow-up in a nuclear family within a connected community and with some semblance of a true moral compass derived from whatever spiritual grounding a faith, any faith, provided. What we have become is a group of humanoids (note the intentional non-use of words such as: society, or civilization) devoid of a moral compass, or humanity--personal or collectively. Ergo, a government, any government, becomes the surrogette parent, provider, teacher, and economic panacea In the end I hope we all have the courage to be looking in the mirror when we vainly try to assign blame for sad incidents such as these.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

Thanks, Skipper liked it Gilligan too


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

A former first lady wrote a book on raising kids that fits quite well into your observation. I believe it was called "It Takes The Village People".


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Thanks, professor.

Julie Baker

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

A first reference to the baby's mother, Mira Dressel, was inadvertently removed. It has been added.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

A person needs a license to, a: Drive a car, b: Work in specific fields, c: to get married d: to serve alcohol in a public place. Shouldn't people have to prove that they are capable to care for a 100% dependance to raise a child! Maybe licensing a couple would halt the number of child abuse cases like these where a person could get parenting classes.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

That will never happen, because that means the government would have to keep people sterile until they were able to prove themselves, or force people to have an abortion or to give up their child if they are unlicensed and happen to get pregnant. Today, people can't even agree on whether or not birth control should ever be used by anyone... Good luck!

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Where is the mother in all this? There's no mention of her presence or involvement. This person squeezed the baby to make it go to the bathroom!!! Never mind parenting, this man needs basic training in to many areas.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

f4phantomll, when the article was first published, there was no mention. They have since revised it.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Thirteenth paragraph, "Police from Pittsfield Township, where Morrison and the baby's mother Mira Dressel reside".


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

How sad. Parenting classes/ parenting mentors are so necessary for so many young fathers.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

Yea...well guess what ? Same goes for young mothers


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

This is awful. Who is "Dressel," mentioned in the article?

Julie Baker

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Mira Dressel is the baby's mother. Her first name was accidentally removed.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

That would be the baby's mother.