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published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Parker trial: Doctor says Kaedyn's injury not from fall
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- A handful of witnesses took the stand Friday during the third day of former Avon Park police officer James Parker's murder trial including two medical doctors and a local detective.
Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin opened the floodgates on the graphic details of the death investigation of 20-month-old Kaedyn Short, which began on March 28, 2009. Short was the daughter of Parker's live-in girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Short. The couple lived at 3333 Sparta Circle in Sebring along with Short's oldest daughter and Parker's daughter.
Parker, 36, is now being tried for first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. On the night of the incident, Parker was looking after Short and the two older children. The defendant described the toddler as "not acting right" when he called the child's mother to inform her of Kaedyn's condition.
According to Parker's deposition taken the morning after the incident, Kaedyn was a "clumsy kid" as he described. Parker stated that Kaedyn would constantly trip over things and fall down multiple times throughout the day.
"Sometimes she would just fall over nothing," Parker stated to Highlands County Sheriff's Office Lt. Tyrone Tyson during his first official interrogation.
Short was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center and was quickly flown to All Children's' Hospital in St. Petersburg due to multiple skull fractures and brain injuries. One of Friday's three witnesses was pathologist Dr. Hector Monforte, one of the first physicians to examine the damage Short received.
"I examined the brain tissue on the 30th. I had 70 grams of brain tissue, which is about 10 percent of the brain weight, about a 4-by-3-inch piece," Monforte began. "Kaedyn Short's brain was not a normal brain. It has extensive hemorrhage. There was blood all around the specimen I examined. Recent hemorrhage inside and outside the brain."
Monforte continued with the explanation of the examination, stating that Short's brain showed no underlying causes for the hemorrhage, such as disease.
Houchin began questioning the actions that could have lead up to such a severe injuries.
"Doctor, did you find anything in your examination to suggest that this was not a recent injury?" Houchin asked.
"No, I didn't," Monforte replied.
Public defense team Blair Allen and Howardene Garrett cross-examined briefly following Monforte's testimony.
The defense team questioned Dr. Monforte's level of expertise regarding the dating of injuries. Reading from a previous interview with Monforte, Garrett insisted that the doctor was not able to tell when the injuries could have been sustained. Monforte replied stating that with the examination of iron and rust levels in the blood, he could tell that the injury was not an old one.
Monforte stated that had it been an older injury much more iron, rust, and other "healing tissues" would be present in the specimen he examined.
Pediatric radiologist Ronald Glass was Houchin's second witness Friday.
At the time of Short's X-ray and CAT scan at Highlands Regional Medical Center, Glass was working for a company in Chicago that evaluated scans from all over the country in a central location.
Glass explained how the scans that took place at HRMC could be almost instantly seen at his company, Virtual Radiologic, through an ultra high-speed Internet connection. Glass transmitted his findings of Short's X-ray back to HRMC, which were documented by the emergency room doctor.
"With reference of images of the head of Kaedyn Short, did you find any evidence of trauma?" asked Houchin.
"Yes," said Glass. Explanations of soft tissue swelling and a bleed in the brain led Glass to state that Short's injuries and trauma were very serious. Glass went on to say that a patient could die from such injuries.
"Doctor, in regard to the fractures in the skull, was there more than one?" Houchin asked.
"It was a comminuted fracture. In other words there were multiple pieces of the fracture. It was a multiple fragment fracture," Glass said.
Glass stated that the fractures all appeared to have occurred around the same time due to the manner of the swelling. Glass also stated that the fractures were all acute fractures, meaning the injuries were from a one-time occurrence, not multiple or repeated stress of the bone.
"In your opinion, are these the type of fracture that a small child will get if they simply fall on the floor?" Houchin asked.
"No," Glass replied.
"What about fall and hit their head on a laptop computer?"
"What about falling off a bunk bed?
"And why not?" asked Houchin.
"Skull fractures are rare. Children play and fall all of the time. It's very rare that you see fractures," Glass stated.
Friday's third witness was Tyson, a detective in the sheriff's Criminal Investigations Unit in the homicide division at the time of Short's death.
Three exhibits, two audio and one video, were presented to the jury, which is made up of three men and 11 women. The first audio was an unofficial recording of Tyson's discussion with Parker during the early hours of March 29, 2009.
During the recording, Parker spoke of his relationship with Jennifer Short, his future plans as well as issues with Kaedyn.
The second exhibit was an visual re-enactment of what Parker described as the events that lead up to Kaedyn's injuries.
Throughout the recording, Parker stated that Kaedyn fell down numerous times after being woken up to have her diaper changed.
"It was after midnight when I actually went in to change her," Parker stated.
Parker then re-enacted the diaper change and Kaedyn's falls, in which he stated he never went over to actually help her up. The final time Kaedyn fell in the hallway of the home, Parker described the toddler screaming as she lay on her side on the floor.
According to the re-enactment, Parker walked out of the kitchen where he was discarding the soiled diaper and over to Kaedyn.
"I told her 'get up, you're okay,," Parker said in the video.
Parker then said he picked her up, when she began to gasp for air and hold her breath. Parker went into the rest room to "throw water on her face." After a minute or so, Parker stated Kaedyn took a huge gasp and just "zoned out."
The video then depicted Parker sitting down in the living room chair with Kaedyn as he tried to get her to react.
"I smacked her cheeks a little bit and kept yelling 'Kaedyn, Kaedyn, Kaedyn' but she wouldn't do anything but open her eyes a little and close them," Parker said. It was then that Parker called Short and advised her to come home to check on the toddler.
Tyson continued to question Parker in the third piece of evidence, the formal interrogation. During the interrogation, Parker described Kaedyn Short as a "walking bruise."
Parker also spoke of a discussion he and Short had the night of the incident about hiring a sitter to look after Kaedyn while Short worked overnight.
According to Parker, he stated that Kaedyn hadn't been "acting right" leading up to the incident on March 29. Parker also described the toddler as "a little bit slow" and clumsy.
The trial will continue this week. Houchin is likely to bring at least one other witness to the stand during the trial.
Baby K (by: vickynickerson - 9/18/2012)
If you still have a t-shirt from the Baby K Run. Please wear it to bring Child Abuse Awareness out there. It happens EVERYDAY, Only us adults can protect these babies. Think about they don't ask to be brought into this world, let alone be abused! I'm trying to get a group of people together to be in the courtroom the day of sentencing. So join me in showing Kaedyn the respect that she deserves! I know god is blessing her daily!
What happened today (by: outoftown - 9/18/2012)
What happened at the trial today, Tuesday 9/18?
question (by: Beerbelly - 9/17/2012)
It started with someone asking if this trial was a death penalty case. A simple question. We can wait until the verdict comes in, then we'll fry him. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
No Comments?? (by: JustBecause - 9/16/2012)
What's up - comments crying for the death penalty of Jame Parker were abundant early on - The trial is going to have some twists and turns when the truth prevails from the defense.
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