Sunday, 19 June 2011

SIDS: OHIO: Varnell Carter charged with manslaughter

Mark Gokavi June 14, 2011

Varnell Carter told a Xenia police detective that he “screwed up” by putting his wife’s 4-month-old daughter on her stomach for a nap and that he is “just so sorry” that Reagan Merriweather died July 6, 2010.
But Carter, 26, also said during recorded interviews with Xenia police Det. Fred Meadows that he didn’t commit a crime. The video was part of several hours of testimony Tuesday in front of Greene County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen A. Wolaver. Carter is on trial on charges of manslaughter and child endangering.
A jury of six women and six men heard from Greene Memorial Hospital emergency room physician Dr. C. Steven Dixon, who told defense attorney Jay A. Adams that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) was the doctor’s initial diagnosis.
The infant’s pediatrician, Dr. Sami Muhtadi, testified that positional asphyxia — the ruling of Greene County Coroner Dr. Kevin L. Sharrett — often has “very similar findings“ as SIDS and that the two can be confused. All the medical personnel testified SIDS is an unexplained, evolving area of medicine.
The day’s last witness, Sharrett said the information he received from the autopsy, photos and investigators’ interviews led to his positional asphyxia ruling, “consistent with suffocation,” but that the manner of death was ruled as undetermined. Sharrett said coroners must choose among natural causes, homicide, suicide, accidental and undetermined.
Sharrett said that putting an infant face down in a nursing pillow on top of sheets and a comforter would “dramatically” increase the risk of breathing issues.
The trial continues this morning with the prosecutors’ final planned witness.

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