Saturday, 20 October 2012

SBS: Hang Bin Li and Ying Li, Queens couple accused of shaking their baby to death want trial, reject plea deal


  • Last Updated: 2:31 PM, October 8, 2012
  • Posted: 11:28 AM, October 4, 2012
A Queens couple accused of shaking their infant daughter to death rejected a plea bargain this morning, saying though their lawyer that they “look forward” to going to trial.
Hang Bin Li, 28, and his common-law wife Ying Li, 27, were arrested months after their daughter, Annie, died in October 2007 from brain damage which doctors say were sustained from Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Hang Bin Li, 28 has been locked up at Rikers Island for four years and rejected a plea bargain that would have allowed him off with time served. He faces life in prison if convicted at trial on murder charges and Ying Li is looking at up to 25 years if convicted of manslaughter.
“You want to proceed with a trial and reject the offer?” Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter asked Hang Bin Li.
“Yes,” he sad through a Mandarin interpreter.
If baby Annie’s father accepted the prosecutor’s offer then Ying Li, 22, would have been offered a plea deal as well.
“We look forward to going to trial,” said Ying Li’s attorney Murray Singer, who along with attorney Cedric Ashley intend to prove that the two-month old suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta, a condition that can cause weak bones.
Jury selection begins October 15.

SBS: Colin Matchim: Bleeding on baby's brain not caused by shaking, expert says

Posted: Oct 9, 2012 3:27 PM NT 

Last Updated: Oct 9, 2012 6:20 PM NT

Colin Matchim was convicted of shaking and severely injuring his baby daughter. Colin Matchim was convicted of shaking and severely injuring his baby daughter. (CBC)
Another expert witness testified in court in St. John's Tuesday that bleeding on baby August Matchim's brain was not caused by shaken baby syndrome.
Testifying by video link, pediatric radiologist Dr. Julie Mack told a St. John's courtroom that the baby could have had what amounted to a stroke.
She said no one could generate enough force simply by shaking the baby to cause the bleeding on the brain that August Matchim had suffered.

Baby's father convicted of shaking and injuring baby

August Matchim's father, Colin, was convicted in May 2011 of shaking and severely injuring his infant daughter in 2009.
Matchim had confessed to shaking his daughter. However during his trial, he retracted his confession.
Matchim said he believed that if he didn't confess, neither he nor his former partner would get custody of the baby.

Sentencing put on hold

Matchim's sentencing was put on hold for more than a year because his new lawyers wanted to put expert evidence before the court to show that the injuries to his baby daughter could have happened some other way.
Last week, neuropathologist Dr. David Ramsay told the court that August Matchim's injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome, but could have also been caused if the infant had a pre-existing condition that interfered with the flow of blood in her brain.
Ramsay also noted that August didn't show any external signs of trauma, such as bruising or cuts.

Friday, 19 October 2012

SBS: Frederick Russell Kern pleads not guilty in shaken baby case

By Staff Writer

POSTED: 12:46 PM MDT Oct 17, 2012 UPDATED: 02:30 PM MDT Oct 17, 2012 Frederick Russell Kern
An Idaho Falls man accused of seriously injuring his young child pleaded not guilty two two counts of felony aggravated battery.
Frederick Russell Kern, 30, entered his plea Wednesday morning in a Bonneville County courtroom.
He was arrested in September after an investigation into his 2-month-old son's injuries. The infant had to be flown to a Salt Lake City hospital for injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome. The child was in Kern's care at the time.
The boy's maternal grandmother told Local News 8 that he is receiving regular treatments at Primary Children's Medical Center and is doing much better.
The case is scheduled to head to trial in January.

SBS: Heather Bennett arrested for son's murder

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012 2:51 pm | Updated: 2:50 pm, Fri Oct 12, 2012.
The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested a woman Wednesday for allegedly murdering her 15-month old son in September.
Sheriff Randy Seal said Heather F. Bennett, 28, of Franklinton was charged with first-degree murder for the Sept. 1 death of Joshua David Bennett.
Seal said the WPSO was contacted on Sept. 1 by personnel at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans who reported that the toddler’s injuries did not match the explanation provided by the family, which claimed the child fell out of bed and hit his head on the floor.
Physicians said that the injuries were not consistent with such a fall and, instead, indicated shaken-baby syndrome.
Due to the seriousness of the child’s condition, WPSO Captain Tommie Sorrell responded to the hospital along with investigators from the Department of Children and Family Services. The toddler was pronounced dead at 5:34 p.m. that day.
The investigation by WPSO detectives and the DCFS included consultations with medical experts at Children’s Hospital who specialize in various areas of pediatric care.
“Their position is this case is non-accidental and that the primary cause of death was severe trauma caused by an acceleration/deceleration injury, which is commonly known as shaken-baby syndrome, to the brain,” Seal said.
The mother was the suspect from the beginning, but her arrest was delayed while investigators awaited a conclusive diagnosis, autopsy results and a death certificate.
On Wednesday, after more than five weeks of investigation and armed with a death certificate that gives “homicide” as the cause of death, the WPSO obtained a warrant and arrested Heather Bennett. She was booked into the parish jail.
Bennett’s two other children, a 4-year-old son and a 6-week-old daughter, have been in the custody of her parents since Joshua’s death, according to the WPSO.
Seal said the arrest was necessary.
“I have an obligation to uphold the law when any tragedy occurs,” he said. “There was definite probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for Mrs. Bennett and the sheriff’s office did what is required by Louisiana law. I offer my prayers and sympathy for the Bennett family and the entire community that has been affected by this tragedy.”

SBS: Troy Love: Salina mother testifies about child's injuries

By Samantha Anderson
Salina mother, Robin Harrington, testified in the preliminary hearing of Troy Love II. He is charged with first degree murder and child abuse in the death of 18-month-old Bre'Elle Jefferson.
According to Harrington, Bre'Elle had a close relationship with her mother.
"She was my baby girl," Harrington said. "We were close. We were very close. She loved being with me. I loved being with her. I think she was a mommy's girl. She didn't want to be with anybody but me.
When Harrington was diagnosed with a painful back condition in late march, she says she relied on her boyfriend at the time--Troy Love.
"I was pretty much bed-ridden so he was really hands on with the kids," Harrington said.
Whil Harrington recovered, she became concerned about Bre'Elle's health. She noticed the girl had blood shot eyes, her hair fell out, that there were bruises on her ears and that she had a sore throat.
"I didn't know what was happening to my baby," Harrington said.
That following weekend Harrington took her daughter to the hospital. She says the doctor told her Bre'Elle had an ear infection and gave her medication.
Harrington testified that a couple of days later she had put her children down for a nap and she and Love got into an argument. It wasn't long after that when Harrington said Love woke her up from a nap on the couch.
"I rememeber somebody kicking the couch saying 'Robin wake up. Bree's  not breething, Brees not breathing," Harrington said.
Bre'Elle was transferred to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. When Harrington got down there she says doctors told her Bre'Elle had shaken baby syndrome.
"They told me she had zero percent chance of waking up," Harrington said.

The preliminary hearing will continue Thursday.
Salina mother testifies about child's injuries.

SBS: Torrance Rogers gets 40 years in shaken baby's death

Torrance Rogers
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012 7:55 pm | Updated: 8:05 pm, Thu Oct 11, 2012.
EDWARDSVILLE - The mother of a murdered child, who initially stood up for the killer, testified against him Thursday at a hearing in which a judge sentenced the defendant to 40 years in prison.
"He killed my baby three times," said Jodi Pinkas, formerly of Edwardsville, the mother of Taylor Nicole Rogers, who later was known as Taylor Pinkas.
Jodi Pinkas testified Thursday in Madison County Circuit Court at the sentencing of her former boyfriend, Torrance Rogers, 31, who was convicted of first-degree murder after a bench trial in July. The child died in 2009 at the age of 9 after being shaken by Rogers 10 years earlier while living in Edwardsville.
The baby was born healthy on Feb. 6, 1999, but was shaken severely after she was left with Rogers.
While the child still was alive, Rogers pleaded guilty of aggravated battery to a child and was sentenced in 2001 to 15 years in prison.
During the initial proceedings, the mother gave an account that did not line up with hard evidence in the case and was uncooperative. She eventually lost her parental rights, and the child's aunt, Debbie Dycus of Edwardsville, took over her care.
Dycus struggled for nine years to keep the child alive and started a nationwide support group for families of babies with shaken baby syndrome. After the child died, Rogers was brought back to Madison County Circuit Court in July for a bench trial on a first-degree murder charge.
During the July bench trial, Pinkas said she realized she had been wrong and wanted justice for her child.
In explaining her statement Thursday that Rogers killed her baby three times, she testified that the first time was when the child originally was shaken, and she thought she had lost the little girl at that time. The second time was when she lost parental rights, and the third time was when her daughter actually died.
Assistant Madison County State's Attorney Susan Jensen asked the judge to consider how much suffering Rogers caused the family and the child, who lost 95 percent of her brain function.
Rogers never owned up to his crime, she argued.
"The first time, he said he shook her a little; the second time he was interviewed, he said he shook her to wake her up," Jensen said.
The medical reports reveal a child who was shaken severely and never regained her health.
The result was Taylor's death from pneumonia after the long struggle to keep her alive. The judge agreed with Jensen's suggestion for a 40-year sentence.
Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said he is happy with the sentence. He praised Jensen, Victim Advocate Desi Jellen and the Edwardsville Police Department for their parts in the case. He also credited the medical personnel for their efforts.
"The Madison County State's Attorney's Office never gives up," Gibbons said. "We will not rest until we get the greatest measure of justice for the victims of crime, especially the most vulnerable among us."

SBS: Gilbert Salazar Betancourt arrested in death of baby daughter

Gilbert Salazar Betancourt
Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Gilbert Salazar Betancourt
by Jennifer Thomas
Posted on October 12, 2012 at 2:47 PM
Updated Friday, Oct 12 at 6:27 PM
PHOENIX -- Phoenix police arrested a man in the death of his 9-week-old daughter.
Police said Gilbert Salazar Betancourt, 26, drove the baby to Tempe St. Luke's at about 9:30 p.m. on May 16. The infant then was flown to Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa where doctors said she had a growing hematoma to the head, rib and skull fractures, and evidence of shaken baby syndrome.
The baby's parents could not explain the injuries.
According to the police report, the child's mother, Jessica Garcia, had gone to work at 3 p.m. and the grandmother watched the infant until the father arrived at 6 p.m. Betancourt took the baby into a bedroom and fed her through a feeding tube due to a medical issue at birth.
He told police he then watched television while the baby slept. When he later picked up Alexus to feed her again, she was limp and unresponsive. He placed her on the floor and provided infant CPR. He said he heard a heartbeat but she was not breathing.
Betancourt then drove her to the hospital. He told police he did not call 911 because he believed he could drive to the hospital faster than paramedics responding to his home and transporting her.
The child's mother and grandmother said there were no injuries or trauma to Alexus and she had been behaving as usual on the day of the incident.
Betancourt denied injuring the child at any time and said the injuries must have occurred as a result of CPR.
According to the police report, Betancourt later admitted that he panicked and shook the baby hard. He said that "her head thumped on the floor when he put her down to provide CPR." He said he placed most of his weight on the baby's head while administering CPR.
The baby was removed from life support on July 16 and died as a result.
An autopsy has revealed the cause of death to be blunt force trauma and the manner of death was homicide.
Betancourt was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree murder and child abuse.
His bond was set at $100,000.

SBS: Parents reunited with children after mistake

We lost our kids for 5 years after wrongful ‘shaken baby’ conviction

Dread for dad jailed after saving daughter's life

Ben, Jennie and Izzy Butler
Reunited ... Ben and Jennie with their second child, Izzy
Sonja Horsman

FIVE years ago doting dad Ben Butler saved his baby daughter’s life when she stopped breathing – and soon found himself in JAIL.

After clearing tiny Ellie’s airway, Ben rushed her to hospital, where doctors found head injuries similar to those caused when a baby is shaken.
To his horror, he was accused of grievous bodily harm and cruelty — crimes for which he was eventually convicted and sent to prison.
He had to stay on a wing full of PAEDOPHILES — and share his cell with a convicted child abuser.
Ellie's cyst
Kept from jury ... Ellie's cyst, circled
Sonja Horsman
Meanwhile, beautiful Ellie and her sister Izzy were put in foster care.
And it was all a terrible mistake.
Ben’s conviction was quashed in 2010 after new medical evidence showed six-week-old Ellie’s injuries were caused by a traumatic birth.
An appeal judge described the case as a “gross miscarriage of justice”.
But Ben, 33, and girlfriend Jennie Gray, 32, had to battle for two more years in the Family Court to get their girls back home.
They finally won that ruling just last week.
Removals man Ben said yesterday: “We should be over the moon. But my fear is we will never, ever be able to be a real family again.
“Ellie has been away from us for over five years. And Izzy came home last week and for the first few days was confused and upset.
“It tore me apart to see her sitting there crying for her foster parents.
“My fear is that although I’ve been cleared my family has been destroyed forever.”
The nightmare began in February 2007 when Ben, who was then separated from Jennie, took charge of baby Ellie for a night.
Graphic designer Jennie had no qualms about leaving the newborn.
She recalled: “If anything, he was an over-protective dad.
“He would text me things like, ‘I think I’ve given her too much milk!’”
Ben said: “From the moment I saw her I fell in love. I just adored her and wanted to be a hands-on dad. I saw her as much as I could, even having her overnight if I could.”
That night in February, Jennie dropped Ellie off as usual.
Ben said: “I tried to give her her feed but she didn’t want it.
“So I placed her in her car seat on the floor right by me. She seemed OK so I started to play a computer game on the telly.
“Then I suddenly saw her little arms were flopped down by her sides.
“When I went to her she had gone all limp, really white and was making a funny noise as if she was struggling to breathe.
“I started screaming at my flatmate to call 999. He did and on the emergency call tape you can hear me in a blind panic, giving her mouth-to-mouth and everything.
“Then at one stage I pushed my finger down her throat and she suddenly gasped and started breathing again.
“That gasp — it’s so loud you can even hear it on the 999 tape.”
It later turned out that Ellie had a cyst in her throat, that quick-thinking Ben had pushed out of the way.
The cyst is clearly visible on a scan taken in hospital — but it was NEVER shown to the original jury.
Ben, of Sutton, Surrey, said: “If they had seen it I believe they would never have found me guilty.
“Instead of trying to kill her, I saved her life.”
Police and social workers were called in despite doctors at first telling the parents that they believed — correctly — that the brain bleeding and swelling they picked up had been caused at birth.
Ben Butler and daughter
'Gross miscarriage of justice' ... Ben has finally got his kids back, two years after his acquittal
Sonja Horsman
Furious Jennie, who had noticed the baby sometimes had breathing problems but was told by the doctor and the midwife not to worry, said: “Ellie had no other injuries, no bruises, no fractures, nothing.
“That is almost unheard of in shaken babies.”
Ben added: “Two weeks later I was arrested and charged with GBH with intent.
“Jen wouldn’t go against me, so Ellie was taken into care.
“At one stage Jen was told by social workers, ‘If you say Mr Butler is guilty, you have more chance of getting your baby back.’”
Jennie added: “I know some people say I should have done that so I could have my child — but I couldn’t do that to Ben. It wasn’t right.
“I had to pack up all her little things and then hand them over to the foster carer.
“When I left her home I just collapsed screaming on her doorstep.
“I missed all her milestones — her first smile, her first steps.”
While awaiting trial the Family Court ruled Ben could see Ellie twice a year for four hours.
Jennie was allowed contact with her baby six times a year for two hours at a time — but felt she could not keep protesting.
Weeping, the mum said: “I had to do everything social services said because I was so scared of Ellie being adopted and then I would have lost her forever.”
Finally in March 2009 Ben faced trial at Croydon Crown Court.
He said: “It all revolved around medical evidence. But unless you were a qualified medic I can’t see how you’d understand any of it.”
To his horror he was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
Ben said: “I had to serve my time on the nonces’ wing.
“It was hideous, being in with men that had done unspeakable things to children.
“I never spoke a word to any of them the whole time.
“I couldn’t even have a photo of Ellie in there in case any paedos got off on it.”
Finally after three-and-a-half months he was freed, pending appeal. He could not wait to see his little girl again. She was now growing up with Jennie’s parents.
He said: “I was allowed to go and see Ellie but she didn’t even know who I was — it was heartbreaking.”
Brought back together by their battles, he and Jennie started seeing each other again and she became pregnant.
She revealed: “I was terrified that social services would take my baby away.
“So I registered under a false name 60 miles away from where I was living.
“I kept the pregnancy a secret from everyone.
“I had Izzy, but when the baby was six months old someone tipped off social services.
“I was driving down the motorway and six police cars started chasing me.
“They pulled me over and arrested me on suspicion of child neglect.
“They wouldn’t even let me say goodbye to Izzy.”
Ellie Butler
Recovered ... Ellie today as a healthy five-year-old
Sonja Horsman
So Izzy too went into care — to strangers, this time. And she stayed there despite Ben’s conviction being overturned in 2010.
By this time Ben was an expert on shaken babies.
He said: “I had spent years researching shaken baby syndrome on the internet.
“There wasn’t a case like ours ever. In all cases of shaken baby syndrome the baby had either died, or been brain damaged.
“Ellie was perfect. I also had medical experts who testified about her cyst and how I had probably saved her life.”
The family was finally reunited by High Court judge Mrs Justice Hogg, who ruled that the local authority — which had argued Izzy, now three, was still at risk — must hand the youngster back.
The judge concluded: “It is a joy for me to oversee the return of a child to her parents.”
But while Izzy is back, Ellie, now five, is so attached to her grandparents that Ben and Jennie fear bringing her back home full-time immediately.
Furious Ben said: “My life, Jennie’s life and the girls’ lives have been virtually destroyed.
“Whatever chance we had of being a family was taken away — I have never seen Izzy at Christmas, or on her birthday.”
Jennie admitted: “At times I felt I couldn’t go on. I just wanted to die but Ben kept me alive. He said we had to fight, fight, fight.
“But we really don’t know how the future will go — I fear Ellie has been away from us too long.”

‘Expert’ opinion in the dock

Louise Woodward
Early conviction ... Louise Woodward
DOCTORS first identified “shaken baby syndrome” in the late Sixties.
The symptoms were laid down as brain swelling, bleeding between the skull and brain and bleeding in the retinas.
It was a diagnosis that explained the deaths of babies who had all these injuries but no external bruising or fractures.
Natural causes were not considered.
But new evidence suggests bleeding in the brain can happen WITHOUT trauma.
The syndrome hit the headlines in 1997 when 19-year-old British au pair Louise Woodward was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a court in Massachusetts.
The victim was eight-month-old Matthew Eappen, who died from injuries an expert said was characteristic of the syndrome.
Soon others were also being accused.
In 1999 Michael Faulder from Gateshead was jailed for two-and-a-half years after being wrongly accused of almost shaking his seven-week-old son to death. It took him six years to clear his name.
He had dropped the baby accidentally while placing him in a buggy.
In 2000 Lorraine Harris of Derbyshire was convicted of manslaughter and given a three-year sentence over the death of her 16-week-old son Patrick.
Her conviction was quashed in 2005 by the Court of Appeal when her lawyers argued that medical opinion on shaken baby syndrome had changed since her conviction.

Read more:

SBS: Bill Anthony Martinez arrested in infant's death: Injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome

Charlene Graham

Bill Anthony Martinez

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 5:01 am | Updated: 4:33 pm, Tue Oct 16, 2012.
A 23-year-old Pueblo man was arrested Monday night on a warrant for first-degree murder for the death of a 2-month-old girl.
Bill Anthony Martinez was arrested in Colorado Springs, according to Charlene Graham, chief of law enforcement for the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office.
The baby has been hospitalized at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs since Saturday when she was found not breathing in Pueblo West.
The child was taken off life support Monday and an autopsy is scheduled for today, according to Pueblo County Coroner James Kramer.
Graham said the baby had injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome, including bruising and a head injury.
“We were able to determine through the investigation that he was the one taking care of the child at the time this occurred,” Graham said, adding the investigation is ongoing.
Martinez is not the baby’s father and had only been dating the victim’s 33-year-old mother for a short time.
“From what I understand, they’ve only been boyfriend-girlfriend for about 2 1⁄2 weeks,” Graham said.
Deputies were sent to the family home, located in the 700 block of South Joe Martinez Court, on a report of a child not breathing.
“A neighbor was performing CPR on the baby when we arrived,” Graham said, adding that a family member called deputies.
Martinez was at the home with his girlfriend, the baby and two older siblings, who Graham said have been placed in custody of the Department of Social Services.
Martinez will be transported to Pueblo County jail tonight, where he’ll be held without bond. Martinez has a lengthy criminal history but nothing of a violent nature.
He’s been arrested before on property crimes and for fraud, the sheriff’s office said.