Friday, 10 June 2011

SBS: Tennessee: Joseph Dowell declared "not guilty" of child abuse

June 10 2011 : Mary Jo Denton
COOKEVILLE -- A father who was arrested last year for allegedly injuring his 3-month-old daughter went to trial yesterday and was found not guilty.

Joseph Erwin Dowell, 27, of West Jackson Street, was indicted by the Putnam grand jury last August following an investigation by Cookeville Police Detective Sgt. Bobby Anderson. He was charged with aggravated child abuse, a Class A felony.
Police said at the time that Dowell's baby daughter was in his care at his home on May 26 when she began having breathing problems. Dowell called 911 and the baby was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Doctors found a possible brain injury and notified police.
The baby was transferred to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville and was treated for injuries described as "consistent" with shaken baby syndrome.
After further investigation by detectives and Department of Children's Services workers, Dowell was indicted.
Yesterday, Deputy District Attorney Tony Craighead and Assistant DA Beth Willis took the case to trial before Judge Leon Burns. Dowell was represented by attorney Rebecca Brady.
According to court clerks, three Vanderbilt physicians testified for the state, all saying that the infant had suffered shaken baby syndrome.
The shaking that causes such injuries had taken place sometime within a 48-hour time span before the baby was brought to the hospital, according to their testimony.
Witnesses for the defense included the baby's mother and grandmother, both of whom said they did not believe that Dowell had hurt the baby.
They pointed to the time span and said Dowell did not have the baby in his care for that whole time, meaning that the injury could have occurred some other way when the baby was with others during that time span.
The two witnesses for the defense also said they still trust Dowell and would have no qualms about leaving the child in his care.
The child has recovered from the injuries, according to testimony.
The jury took the case for deliberation at 4:50 p.m. and returned a not guilty verdict at 6:30 p.m., Circuit Court Clerk Marcia Borys said.

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