QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This was not a homicide; This child died of pneumonia and sepsis. And Dr. Traylor (the pathologist who conducted the autopsy) was dead wrong."
Defence attorney Cecilia Kappel.
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Domonique's Benn's powerful story, broadcast on KSLA 12 News television on Monday November 21, and subsequently placed on the KSLA web page, includes interviews, heart-breaking 911 calls, and a video showing a devastated Rodricus Crawford in the rear seat of a police cruiser after learning that his son is dead. It's called 'Fighting for a father's freedom: KSLA News 12: investigates: New evidence leads to retrial of convicted father." The entire story can be found at the following link:
Aired just hours before a hearing to determine the bail Rodricus Crawford will be required to post while prosecutors determine of he should put to a new trial, the investigative report could not have been better timed. It only lasts about 7 minutes and is well worth watching - to see the extent to which Louisiana has gone to try and kill an innocent, young black grieving father.
Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.
DOMONIQUE BENN: "Coroner's reports says Roderius died of smothering. However, attornies for the boys father say the coroner’s office ignored critical evidence that the child died of natural causes."
CECILIA KAPPEL: (Defence lawyer): "This was not a homicide; This child died of pneumonia and sepsis. And Dr. Traylor was dead wrong."
BENN: "Dr. James Traylor was the pathologist who ruled the baby’s death a homicide. When asked to comment on the autopsy, Dr. Traylor directed us to court records from the trial which stated his autopsy finding. According to the autopsy report, Dr Traylor determined smothering to be the cause of death, evidenced by a small cut under the baby’s top lip. But defence attornies say the injury came from a fall not a crime."
KAPPEL: "The evidence is that Roderius fell down in the bathroom the day before he died, and the police investigated this, and they found that the story checked out. They found it was true, and Dr. Traylor and the state ignored that. He had a busted lip, and he had bruising on his forehead, and he fell between the tub and the toilet, and that is shown by the autopsy photographs. He looks like a kid that fell down. He doesn’t look like an abused child. As we all know, toddlers get busted lips."
BENN: "Defence attorneys argue the real cause of the child’s death was his failing health, evidence backed up by tissue and blood samples."
KAPPEL: "He missed the fact that this child had brain swelling, which indicated that he did not die of smothering, he didn’t perform testing on the bruising on the child, which could have pinpointed the moment that those bruises occurred, instead of assuming that Mr. Crawford inflicted those injuries, and Dr. Traylor didn’t do further testing on the blood, which would have confirmed that this child died of sepsis. He says this child had pneumonia, but it was not enough to kill the child, and when he was questioned about the bacteria in the blood he said yes, if that is an accurate result, that would indicate sepsis, but my needle could have been contaminated. And so, based on his testimony, either this child died of sepsis, and this was not a murder, or his autopsy was contaminated. Either way we cannot have any confidence in this verdict."
BENN: "Nine other doctors around the country agree that Roderious Lott died from sepsis. It was a game-changer for the defence which landed the case before the Louisiana Supreme Court (Fascinating footage in which one of the Supreme Court justices presses prosecutor Tommy Johnson as to how Rodricus could have been charged with murder - let alone first degree murder punishable by death, in the circumstances.) No evidence was produced at trial showing that Rodricus Crawford ever abused his son. Instead, defence attorneys argued that the cards were stacked against their client from the beginning because of his race, the fact that he was unemployed and still lived at home with his mother."
"Kappel: He was given a presumption that he is of a criminal element based on his race and based on his socio-economic status. I think that the result would have been very different if he were white. I think the result would have been very different if he was even middle class African American. In this case he was simply presented to be a criminal."
BENN: "Dale Cox was the prosecuting attorney during the original trial. The Louisiana Supreme Court found that Cox struck people from the jury based on race. We reached out to Cox for comment on the latest developments in this case but we could not find him.”
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/c