Dad charged in murder, sex assault of 8-month-old released after bond change

A Detroit man who was charged earlier this week with the murder and sexual conduct is having his bond lowered at the request of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

James Saltmarshall, 22, was charged on Monday with murder, first degree child abuse, and criminal sexual conduct after his 8-month-old girl died at a Detroit area hospital.

Saltmarshall insists that he never hurt the baby girl and even broke down in court crying on Monday. FOX 2 has learned that there may have been a problem with the first round of forensic testing and he's now being freed on a personal bond.

He was originally issued a $2 million cash/surety bond. The terms of that bond require an inmate to post 10% of the bond to get out of jail. The terms of the bond were changed to today to be a $2 million personal bond. That means that Saltmarshall is actually free to leave the jail but will appear in court at all future dates.

Personal bond is also referred to as personal recognizance and is an agreement between both sides that he will appear in court and won't break the law while the personal bond is in force.

The change in bond was actually a request from the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office after Thursday's Preliminary Hearing.

"It's significant that the prosecutor stepped in and said he can be free," his attorney, Lillian Diallo, said.

Saltmarshall must wear a GPS tether and have no contact with children under the age of 17.

According to the Wayne County Prosecutor, Saltmarshall was alone with the girl in a motel in the 2600 block of Michigan in Inkster last Thursday. Officials said the girl's mother went to work that morning and when she left, the baby was in good health.

Just before 4:30, Saltmarshall called Inkster police to the motel. He started CPR while police and EMS responded. When they got there, the baby was rushed to the hospital where she was eventually revived. She was then transferred to The Children's Hospital and was listed in critical condition as of Friday. On Sunday, the infant died from her injuries.

Grandmother of 8-month-old allegedly raped and killed by dad says system failed
Detroit man charged with sexual assault, murder of 8-month-old girl
Baby rushed to hospital after she stops breathing at Inkster motel

Police say the father told them the baby was left on the bed while he used the restroom, and when he came back out the baby wasn't breathing. Police said at the time that the circumstances are suspicious and some of the information is conflicting.

The medical examiner found she had trauma to her head and rectal tearing.

On Monday, Saltmarshall broke down in court.

"Wait, wait, this never happened," he said. "Wait, wait a minute. Can I call my mom, can I please call my mom."

But on Thursday, when he appeared via video conference, he much happier knowing he would be released.

"There may be a different explanation and a different kind of tearing. There may have been oxygen deprivation," Diallo said.

Saltmarshall is expected to be released on Thursday. He will be in court on July 6 for a preliminary examination. Both the prosecution and defense agree that they need more time to prepare for this case.

"We need additional time to complete the autopsy as well as the rape kit," Prosecutor Jennifer Tink said.

Saltmarshall's mother told FOX 2 this week that Janiyah should never have been in her son or his girlfriend's care. She says the baby's mother has had other children taken away from her in the past. Zuleika Moreno, 29, was convicted in March 2015 of 3rd degree child abuse after pleading no contest to the charges. She was on a five year probation as part of that plea.

"CPS was involved in the life because of the mom and her prior history. This child was loved by this man."

Saltmarshall still faces life in prison but on Thursday, he's going to be released.

"Everything is going to be dependent upon the autopsy and, preliminarily, it may not be what they said it was. That's why this young man is free."