INDIANAPOLIS — Savannah Thompson knows now she should have taken her son and left.
"Don't love someone too much where you lose yourself in your mind," the 21-year-old mother said. "You know what needs to be done. And you just, you can't let that happen. Because, horrible instances like this, my baby taken away from me."
Jaxson Thompson, just four months old, was in his mother's arms when he took his last breaths nearly a week ago.
"I felt him become lifeless. I felt my heart and my body fill up with rage and hurt, and agony in pain and sorrow," Thompson said. "I wish it could have been me and not him. You know. He didn't even get a chance to live."
Brandon Herring, 22, has been charged with aggravated battery for allegedly violently shaking his infant son at their south-side apartment on Aug. 27 while Thompson was at work. Jaxson died 2:38 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
“I lost my cool,” court records say Herring told a detective. Herring, prosecutors say, admitted that he shook Jaxson for seven to 10 seconds before the boy went limp.
Thompson told WRTV that she and Herring had been dating for about a year. She worked a cleaning job at an area hospital while Herring stayed home with their son.
She woke that Friday morning at 7:15 a.m. Jaxson woke and smiled at her before she left for work, according to a probable cause affidavit. On her breaks, she saw Jaxson via FaceTime calls that morning and afternoon. The baby was laughing, smiling and happy, Thompson told police.
While she was working that day, Thompson argued with Herring via dozens of text messages. She gave those text messages and a voicemail from Herring to police.
"Brandon is expressing frustration, including stating that (Thompson) was making him want to kill himself," according to the affidavit. "At some point, Brandon leaves a voice message for (Thompson) in which he sounds as though he is crying and is asking (Thompson) repeatedly to 'just stop.'"
Herring called Thompson at about 4:45 p.m. He told her Jaxson was not breathing. She could hear their son gasping in the background. Thompson told Herring to call 911 and hung up and called 911 herself.
Jaxson went to the hospital and never regained consciousness, Thompson said.
He was a sweet baby with a huge grin. She said Jaxson loved giving hugs and slobbery kisses to his family.
It's obvious now, Thompson said, that she should have left Herring. Their relationship was tumultuous and sometimes violent, she said, but she didn't believe he'd hurt Jaxson.
"What I want everyone to know is when you have domestic violence in a relationship and you just have a baby, that should be a red flag," Thompson said. "Don't love someone too much where you lose yourself in your mind. You know what needs to be done. You can't let that happen."
Herring was freed from the Marion County Jail on Sept. 22 after posting 10% of a $200,000 cash bond, records show. Marion Superior Court Judge Shatrese M. Flowers ordered Herring to be placed on electronic monitoring while he awaits trial.
Aggravated battery is a Level 1 felony that carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison if convicted. Herring's jury trial has been scheduled for Dec. 8.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to assist with funeral costs.
"I want to make everyone else aware of what could happen in a snap of fingers," Thompson said. "I want to get justice for my baby."
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @vicryc.