Sunday, 26 December 2010

SBS: Arizona: Jonathan Edward Vandergriff

By JIM SECKLER:  December 22, 2010
KINGMAN — Several motions were argued Tuesday in Superior Court in the death penalty case of a Bullhead City man charged with murdering his infant son.
Jonathan Edward Vandergriff, 24, and his co-defendant, Staci Lynn Barbosa, 19, are each charged with first-degree murder, child abuse by domestic violence, sexual assault of a minor under the age of 15 and sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15.
Only Vandergriff faces the death penalty if convicted of the murder charge. The couple could also face life in prison with or without the chance of parole after 35 years if convicted of murder.
Vandergriff’s Tucson attorney, Creighton Cornell, asked for a complete autopsy report from Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office, calling the report that he received incomplete. The report did not address exams of the child’s brain or retina. Cornell also wanted to make sure the child’s body was still being preserved and even hinted of possible prosecutorial misconduct.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney Greg McPhillips said he would provide any further evidence to the defense if the coroner provides it but described the defense’s motion as “sound and fury” without substance.
Court Commissioner Derek Carlisle questioned why defense attorneys waited two months since they received the autopsy Oct. 29 to file a motion but did order prosecutors to disclose any present or future reports from the medical examiner. The judge also questioned why defense attorneys have not requested a medical expert to review any medical evidence and said the deadline to request an expert is nearing an end. Carlisle also said Mohave County is handicapped by having to go to another state for an autopsy report.
The judge set Vandergriff’s next hearing for Jan. 20. Vandergriff’s case has been designated a complex case, which means he will not go to trial in less than 18 months. Vandergriff is being held on $500,000 bond and Barbosa is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Barbosa was arrested June 15 after she took her badly injured son, Matthew, to the Western Arizona Regional Medical Center. Vandergriff turned himself into police officers later that day.
Matthew suffered from bruises, broken ribs, broken femur, and swollen eyes and was malnourished and dehydrated. The infant allegedly showed signs of sexual abuse and shaken baby syndrome. Matthew was later taken to a Las Vegas hospital where he died the next morning.

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