A Tillar man charged in the death of his one-year-old son last year was acquitted today of first-degree murder. A Desha County jury deliberated just over an hour and a half  Thursday morning before finding Justin Rose not guilty of the abuse that caused the death of his son, Ryan Smith.

The child died of closed head injuries but it was unclear when the child sustained the injuries.

During the 3-day trial in Arkansas City this week, both the state’s expert medical witness and the defense’s expert medical witness agreed that the child’s death was a homicide but disagreed as to when the child sustained the injuries.

State Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Kokes testified that the child’s injuries were of the severity that unconsciousness or cardiac arrest would have occurred within minutes of the blunt force trauma that caused the injuries. The defense’s expert medical witness, however, said it could have occurred up to 12 hours before.

The baby’s mother took her sleeping child to Rose’s home at 5:30 a.m. on January 14, 2010 before she went to work.

Rose, 24, said when the baby woke, he picked him up and his head fell back and his body went limp. Rose took the baby to Delta Memorial Hospital in Dumas at 6:45 a.m. The baby was then transported by helicopter to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where he died the next day.