Sunday, January 19, 2014

Jeffrey Havard; Mississippi; Clarion-Ledger wades deeper into this disturbing case in which pathologist Steven Hayne, who concluded in his initial autopsy that baby Chloe Britt died of shaken baby syndrome now acknowledges that there is "growing evidence" such a diagnosis "is probably not correct." Hayne also says he didn't see any evidence of sexual assault - the underlying felony against Havard that enabled authorities to pursue the death penalty against him; (Kudos to the Clarion-Ledger and reporter Jerry Mitchell for their unblinkered pursuit of this case. HL);

STORY: "The death of  Chloe Britt:  Capital murder or accidental fall?" by reporter Jerry Mitchell, published by the Clarion-Ledger on January 19, 2014.

At the request of The Clarion-Ledger, New York pathologist Dr. Michael Baden read the autopsy report in the 2002 death of Chloe Madison Britt and examined other evidence in the case. “There is no autopsy or scientific evidence to support a diagnosis that Chloe died of shaken baby syndrome,” Baden said. “Chloe had no neck injuries, chest injuries, spine or rib fractures that further research has shown can be produced by the abusive shaking of a baby,” he said in a sworn statement. Havard’s description of accidentally dropping the baby is “entirely consistent” with the injuries found, Baden said. In an interview last week with The Clarion-Ledger, Hayne, who concluded in his original autopsy that she died of shaken baby syndrome, acknowledged there is “growing evidence” such a diagnosis “is probably not correct.” Studies show shaking isn’t able to generate enough force to cause these kinds of injuries to a child, he said. He mentioned a 1979 study measuring the falls of children. “You can generate tremendous G forces in a short distance when you hit a very hard surface,” he said. In 2001, Minnesota pathologist Dr. John Plunkett conducted a groundbreaking study, examining Consumer Product Safety Commission reports involving falls from playground equipment. He concluded short-distance falls are capable of producing the triad of symptoms identified as shaken baby syndrome. “It’s clear that low velocity, even a 2- or 3-foot fall can cause serious and fatal brain injury,” he told The Clarion-Ledger. “If people had paid attention to the science, it would not have been a mystery.”He also discovered that children could sometimes continue to act normal after falls, developing symptoms days later. He called comparing the shaking of a child to falling from a three-story building or high-speed car crash “scientifically irresponsible.” Harper, who prosecuted Havard, said authorities studied the bathroom and concluded it was impossible for the injuries to have taken place as Havard described. The Clarion-Ledger has examined the crime scene photographs taken in the case. None shows the bathroom......... Havard is sitting on Mississippi’s death row for a crime the state’s pathologist believes never took place. Sexual assault was the underlying felony charge against Havard that enabled authorities to pursue the death penalty against him. “I didn’t think there was a sexual assault,” Hayne said of his 2002 autopsy of Chloe. “I didn’t see any evidence of sexual assault.”"

The entire story can be found at:

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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

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