Friday, 6 May 2011

AHT: Iowa: Jonas Neiderbach trial

JEFF ECKHOFF : May. 5, 2011 
"What they described to us did not match with what I see," Dr. Tracy Eckhardt, the pediatric specialist, told a Polk County jury. "There was some kind of high-impact injury to his head."
Testimony began Wednesday in the six-count child endangerment trial of Jonas Neiderbach, Ethan's father.
Authorities blame Jonas Neiderbach, 22, for a broken arm, broken ribs and several head injuries Ethan suffered in the weeks leading up to July 8, 2009. One of the charges involves Neiderbach's alleged failure to seek medical treatment for the broken ribs.
Defense attorney Gary Dickey Jr. on Wednesday deemed the case "a rush to judgment" against Neiderbach. Dickey contends that Ethan's injuries can be explained by other medical problems, by accidents or by damage inflicted by other relatives — including Jherica Richardson, Ethan's mother, who is now serving a 20-year prison term following her own plea to child endangerment charges last year.
Dickey used much of his opening statement to jurors to lay out a detailed timetable for the weeks before July 8, focusing on several points where outsiders pronounced the baby to be in good spirits and seemingly free of medical distress.
Prosecutors say it was Neiderbach, however, who had responsibility for Ethan when the baby stopped breathing on July 8. Neiderbach also had been caring for the baby on June 14, when Ethan began spitting up blood-tinged mucus, and four days later, when Neiderbach said he "heard a pop" from the baby's arm while trying to lay him down on the bed.
Dickey told jurors that the defense will use medical testimony to argue that Ethan's spiral arm fracture was an accident and to dispute the cause of some brain injuries.
"The whole idea of 'shaken baby syndrome' and the science behind it will be on trial in this case," Dickey said. "The evidence will show that the science behind shaken baby syndrome has been disputed. Vigorously."
Eckhardt, the pediatric intensive care specialist, told jurors Wednesday that Ethan had ruptured blood vessels in his brain and a brain-stem injury that she believes was responsible for his eventual failure to breathe. Further long-term damage was likely caused by a lack of oxygen to Ethan's brain - a factor probably made worse, Eckhardt agreed, when the boy's parents drove to the hospital instead of calling an ambulance.
Prosecutor Steve Foritano told jurors Wednesday that Ethan, who now lives with a relative and turns 2 later this month, can't walk or talk and "virtually has no brain function."
Richardson already has pleaded guilty "for her part of it," Foritano told jurors.
"At the end of this trial, hold Jonas Neiderbach accountable for his actions," he urged.

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