Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rodricus Crawford: Louisiana: Part 16: (Key document: Affidavit of Dr. Thomas Young); Part of a series in anticipation of his appeal, set for Wednesday (September 7); A key document which goes to heart of the appeal; Forensic Pathologist Dr. Thomas Young explains in an affidavit prepared for Rodricus' lawyers why there is no forensic whatsoever that Rodicrus smothered Roderius to death - and why the cause of his death "is no mystery."..."In conclusion, it is not reasonable for anyone to surmise “asphyxia secondary to smothering” as a cause of death from autopsy findings, particularly when the autopsy findings point to a more likely cause: an overwhelming bacterial infection.”


A petition, set up on 'Color of Change'  by supporter Marlene Belliveau on behalf of  Rodricus Crawford's family,  implores Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart, "to look at the concrete evidence and facts before you. Mr Crawford did not kill his son. You have sworn to is your duty to exonerate this young man." The petition can be found at the following link. (In view of the rapidly approaching appeal - set for Wednesday September 7 - supporters should get their message to Mr. Stewart as soon as possible. HL);


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: (A): Rodricus Crawford's appeal is set for  Wednesday, September 7, 2016. It is imperative that public attention be brought to this appeal as there is a ominous danger that Louisiana will be executing an innocent father whose 1-year-old son died of  pneumonia - unless the Louisiana Supreme Court intervenes.  (Contrary to the the testimony of the pathologist testifying for the prosecution who dismissed  the medical factors as the cause of death  without a scientific basis for doing so, also gave his equally unscientific opinion that Rodricus Crawford had smothered Roderius  to death - as is demonstrated  by  forensic evidence (affidavits) filed by his lawyers which will be published later in this series.)  As will be seen over the course of the series, it didn't help that Crawford was prosecuted by the notorious Dale Cox in Caddo Parish,  which, as the Fair Punishment Project reports,  has a disproportionate number of  death sentences. I implore  whoever reads these posts to share them as widely as possible, to make sure that  Louisiana's  Supreme Court  understands the urgency of stopping  this execution in its tracks and put an end to the prosecution. In this sixteenth  post in the series  in anticipation of Rodricus Crawford's appeal set for Wednesday (September 7) you will find an affidavit which goes to the heart of the appeal: An unequivocal opinion by a highly experienced and respected forensic pathologist, Dr. Thomas Young that  it is not reasonable for anyone to surmise “asphyxia secondary to smothering” as a cause of death from autopsy findings, particularly when the autopsy findings point to a more likely cause: an overwhelming bacterial infection.”


DOCUMENT: "Affidavit prepared for Rodricus’ lawyers by Dr. Thomas Young, who is certified by The American Board of Pathology in Anatomic, Clinical and Forensic Pathology and has been in active forensic pathology practice for 27 years. As a former medical examiner in both Atlanta,   Georgia and Kansas City Missouri, Doctor Young has performed over 5,400 autopsies and  - an important fact - has testified for the state in criminal cases about 350 times.

GIST: “In  his autopsy report for one-year-old Roderius Lott, Dr. James Traylor  (prosecution expert witness) offered “asphyxia secondary to smothering” as number one of his “Final Anatomic Diagnosis.” “Asphyxia secondary to smothering” is not a diagnosis that anyone can make from an autopsy. A doctor cannot look at a dead body  and see “asphyxia secondary to smothering.” “Smothering is a past event where someone covers the mouth and nose of a victim, and “asphyxia” is a term for the past physiological events that occurred in a body as a consequence of the deprivation of oxygen. Neither of these past events can be seen at an autopsy; they do not form an “anatomic diagnosis.”

“Asphyxia secondary to smothering” is simply a guess: one that cannot be offered to a reasonable degree of medical certainty. It is not putting two and two together to come up with four; it is starting with four – the autopsy results – and guessing what numbers were put together to come up with four – the past events that led to the autopsy results. Since an infinite variety of numbers can be added together to come up with four, the likelihood of Dr. Traylor coming up with “asphyxia secondary to smothering” as a correct guess is very low.

The photographs of the child’s lips in this case do not demonstrate any pattern of injury that would fit smothering as a diagnosis. Even if a pattern of abrasions matched the child’s teeth, such as the patterned injuries demonstrated in the photographs I have attached to this letter, that pattern still would not be enough for anyone to determine “asphyxia secondary to smothering.” There could be reasons to numerous to count that could explain these abrasions without the cause of death being from smothering. See an additional attachment for the story behind the photographs I have attached as an example.

The cause of death of young Roderius M. Lott is really not a mystery. He was described as ill before his passing. Furthermore, the autopsy demonstrated patches of purulent inflammation in both lungs, and a bacterial culture of the blood grew out of a pure (not likely a contaminant) colony of alpha hemolytic streptococcus. A fulminant bacterial infection of the blood can lead to a sudden, unexpected death not only in susceptible infants and toddlers but also in susceptible teenagers and adults, In such infections, a fever or an elevated white cell count in the blood does not even need to be present. The body’s defence systems are overwhelmed fairly rapidly in such cases. The lungs may have been the source of the bacterial infection of the blood, but it is also possible that a bacterial infection arising in the blood may have “seeded” the lungs in this case, leading to patches of purulent inflammation.

On the other hand, no witness offers an account of anyone smothering the child. The autopsy and blood culture findings pointing to a bacterial infection are factual – something actually observed – but the supposed smothering event is a guess offered by Dr. Traylor – something not actually observed by  anyone, including Dr. Traylor.

In conclusion, it is not reasonable for anyone to surmise “asphyxia secondary to smothering” as a cause of death from autopsy findings, particularly when the autopsy findings point to a more likely cause: an overwhelming bacterial infection.”

The entire document can be accessed at:


 I am monitoring this case. 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: on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:  Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;