Ebony Horton October 16, 2009
FORT RUCKER – Civilian defense attorney Victor Kelley patted the back of Spec. Dedrick Fisher on Thursday after what Kelley said was the most important day in the rest of Fisher’s life.
Perhaps it was, as the Fort Rucker soldier walked away a free man after a six-soldier panel unanimously acquitted him in a general court martial of all charges relating to the death of his infant son, Dedrick Fisher Jr., according to Fort Rucker Public Affairs Officer Lisa Eichhorn.
Baby Dedrick died Feb. 2 after he was unable to recover from brain injuries he suffered when prosecutors said Fisher shook him in November 2008. The baby, who was seven weeks old at the time of the alleged incident, could not eat or breathe on his own, according to authorities.
If Fisher had been convicted after the three-day trial, he would have faced dishonorable discharge and up to 10 years in a federal prison for a charge of involuntary manslaughter.He also could have faced lesser charges, including negligent homicide or battery.
Kelley said expert testimony in the three-day trial showed there was no way shaking could have caused the degree of injuries from which baby Dedrick died.
“You’ve heard Dr. Uscinski say ‘this was a case of subdural injury created by a birth trauma,’ and that he did not agree with the government’s case … that shaking did not cause Dedrick’s death,” Kelley said.“Everybody is sorry they lost a son, but there’s nothing we can do to make it better. What could (have) made it worse was to convict an innocent man.”
Fisher’s case included testimony from both he and his wife, Eliana.
Authorities said Fisher never called 911, but instead traveled through Fort Rucker in search for help.
Prosecutors maintained the bleeding baby Dedrick’s brain suffered was not caused by a baby choking and that Fisher had admitted at least twice to shaking his son, who military prosecutor Capt. Shawn Tate said Fisher referred to using an explicative.
“We (were) here for baby Dedrick. He doesn’t get a second chance. He’s not here to tell us what happened … (but) only one story makes sense, and that is that Dedrick Fisher Jr. died from abusive head trauma,” Tate said.
“Spec. Fisher lost a son. He was a good soldier, but no matter how good he has been, he made a mistake that day. He messed up.”
The case will not appear in his record and there have been no other arrests in the case, according to Eichhorn.