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Fort Drum soldier indicted on murder charge in death of infant

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CANTON — The Fort Drum soldier held in the death of an infant was indicted Thursday by a St. Lawrence County grand jury on four counts, including second-degree murder, a class A-1 felony.

Gary L. McKenzie II, 22, of 154 Hailesboro St., Apt. 26, Gouverneur, also is charged with second-degree manslaughter, a class C felony; reckless assault of a child, a class D felony; and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.

He is accused of throwing 7-month-old Braylin W. Chambers to the floor forcibly, causing an inoperable brain injury including hemorrhaging, at 1:39 a.m. on July 16. McKenzie told state police that he attempted CPR on the infant, who was placed on life support but was pronounced dead at 5:20 p.m. the same day at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse.

According to the indictment handed up Thursday, the infant died due to McKenzie’s “shaking Braylin, or slamming or throwing Braylin so as to impact Braylin’s head on a hard surface or object.”

Dr. Donald C. Schuessler Jr., E.J. Noble Hospital medical director and a pediatrician for 29 years, had testified at a preliminary hearing that the baby’s injuries were inflicted “with significant force” and did not appear to have been accidental.

McKenzie and the infant’s mother, Savana Goble, had been in a relationship since Oct. 26, and when McKenzie was arrested the day the baby died, he identified himself to police as Ms. Goble’s fiance. He is not the baby’s father.

According to police, Ms. Goble was at work at the time of the incident and met first responders at E.J. Noble Hospital, where the child initially was taken.

McKenzie is being held in St. Lawrence County jail, with bail set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

An Army private first class, he is a petroleum supply specialist in A Company of the 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, according to Fort Drum’s public affairs office.

He is scheduled to be arraigned at 9:15 a.m. Sept. 23 in St. Lawrence County Court.

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