Wednesday, 29 September 2010

SBS: Kansas

Prosecutor Christina Trocheck pushed a button Monday afternoon and a large photograph of an infant lying on a pink blanket appeared on a screen in Saline County District Court.
"There are some facts that are not disputed in this case," said Trocheck, an assistant county attorney, in her closing argument. "One is that N.B. was an infant -- unable to care for herself, protect herself or tell anyone about the events of March 5, 2009."
There is a reason the jury wasn't shown a current photo of the child, who is now more than (?) 10 years old, said attorney Roger Struble, who represents Patrick Armer, the baby's father.
"I would suggest her injuries are resolved and she would appear to be normal," Struble told the four-man, eight-woman jury.
After hours of deliberation, those jurors found Armer guilty of child abuse and intentional aggravated battery causing great bodily harm in connection with injuries the child suffered. His sentencing was set for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 22.
Armer testified in his own defense Monday. He said he didn't tell investigators for several hours that he'd fallen on top of the baby because they were asking how he had shaken the baby.
"They insisted that I shook her and the injuries came from shaking her, and I did not shake her," Armer said.
Armer agreed that he had become angry and frustrated when the baby cried, "indirectly yelling" obscenities at her, kicking her crib on a couple of occasions and once stating that he would "give her something to cry about."
Initially, Armer told authorities he had no idea how the child could have sustained retinal hemorrhages in both eyes, bleeding around the front and back of her brain, and new and partially healing rib fractures.
He said Monday he initially denied knowledge because doctors had said the child's injuries were caused by shaking and he had never shaken the baby.
Police officers testified previously that after Armer was handcuffed to a table and told he was being arrested, he tearfully said he wanted to tell the truth and described the fall.
"They convinced me through eight hours of interrogation that I hurt her," Armer testified Monday. "So, if I did it, it was through a fall and an accidental fall, at that."
Armer said he thought he'd heard the baby cry downstairs and went down to pick her up from her crib. He said he headed quickly back upstairs with the child to continue watching a movie.
On the third or fourth step, he stumbled and fell forward, landing on top of the little girl, he said. He said the child's head struck a metal strip on the lip of a step.
"I'm 210 pounds, and she's 6 pounds and some ounces," he said. "I could have swore I heard a crush."
He said the baby didn't cry and appeared to be "knocked out." He said she was overly warm, so he removed her clothing and laid her on the bed. He described her as pale, having difficulty breathing, and her right eye was rolling to the side and toward the back of her head.
Trocheck asked the jury to thoroughly consider testimony from several medical professionals that a fall of the type Armer described could not account for the child's injuries. She said that despite what he told the jury, the baby's injuries and the fact that she became unresponsive and started having seizures while in his care were evidence that he physically shook her to get her to stop crying.
"Simply because Ms. Trocheck suggests to you that the baby was shaken doesn't mean it happened," Struble argued in his closing. "Just because she says Mr. Armer did it doesn't mean he did."
Trocheck said the evidence from medical professionals who treated the child and research on infants who have been violently shaken by an adult would suggest otherwise.
"Infants don't just develop those conditions unless someone inflicts them," she said.

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