Monday, 17 January 2011

SBS: Nebraska: Doris Herrin, Adam Jesseph

by Danny Gruber
C-H staff writer
 January 5, 2011
LEXINGTON – Two suspects in a Gothenburg child abuse case appeared in Dawson County Court Tuesday afternoon for a preliminary hearing to determine whether the evidence against them was sufficient enough to transfer the case before the district court.
Doris M. Herrin, 27, and Adam R. Jesseph, 24, were arrested and jailed Dec. 24 for child abuse resulting in death, according to information filed with the court. The pair was arrested as a result of the investigation into the death of Herrin’s daughter, Misty K. Herrin, 3.
Jeff Wightman is representing Herrin and Jesseph’s attorney is Jim McGough, a criminal defense attorney from Omaha. The State of Nebraska is represented by Dawson County Attorney Liz Waterman.
The only witness called to the stand during the hearing was Sergeant Matt Langley from the Gothenburg Police Department. Langley, an 11-year veteran of the police force, testified in regard to findings by the police department during their investigation of the death of Misty.
Doris and Jesseph reported that the girl had fallen while unattended in a bedroom. The treating physician, however, reported that the injuries were inconsistent with that report.
Herrin and Jesseph, both of 202 Ave. B in Gothenburg, brought an unresponsive Misty Herrin into the Gothenburg Memorial Hospital emergency room at about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday.
After being examined for less than one hour, Misty was transported by air to Kearney. She was placed under the care of Dr. Kenton Shaffer, a certified pediatrician, where she had emergency surgery for swelling on the right side of her brain.
“He did not believe she would survive the night due to the injury to her brain,” Langley testified.
The child was removed from life support and pronounced dead at 2:44 p.m. Wednesday.
According to court records, Shaffer diagnosed her as having suffered injuries consistent with having been shaken; brain hemorrhaging on both sides of her brain and hemorrhaging in both of her retinas.
Gothenburg Police obtained a search warrant and collected from the Herrin household a damp towel, urine-soaked pajamas and a large clump of hair from the trashcan.
“It just didn’t make sense,” Langley said of the clump of hair.
McGough objected to the statement about the hair, but presiding Judge Carlton Clark allowed it, as the hearing was only preliminary.
 In closing arguments Waterman pointed out a gap of time of at least an hour before the defendants allegedly attempted to get assistance for the three-year-old girl.
“There was no explanation as to what was going on,” Waterman said.
“The timeline isn’t indicative of anything,” McGough countered.
“It’s what they think happened,” McGough continued. “It’s not supported by any evidence.”
An autopsy has been conducted, but the results were not available to defense or prosecution as of press time.
In his remarks, Wightman agreed.
“There is no evidence as to the cause of the death of this child. It’s very speculative.”
In his ruling, Judge Clark referred to passages of the Nebraska Statute, Section 28-707 and ruled there was probable cause to have the matter heard at the call of the District Court.
Doris and Jesseph are each being held in the Dawson County jail in lieu of $500,000 bond at 10 percent.
Misty’s seven-year-old sister has been placed into protective custody with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services during the court proceedings.

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