Sunday, December 28, 2014

Back in action: Catch-up: (16); Shelley Richter: Missouri Babysitter found guilty in shaken baby case. Prosecutor told jury to discount defence witness retired Minnesota medical examiner Dr. John Plunkett's testimony "because he used to testify that shaking a baby could cause the kind of damage Lane suffered but, in recent years, has testified only for defense attorneys and against the impact shaking a baby can cause."

STORY: "Richter found guilty in shaken baby case" by reporter Bob Watson, published by The News Tribune on December 10, 2014.

GIST: "Shelley Richter is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, at her home day care in Taos on Aug. 19, 2010. An eight-man, four-woman Cole County jury deliberated for nearly 8½ hours Wednesday before returning that verdict about 9:45 p.m., in Richter’s second trial on the charge that she shook Lane Schaefer, then 7 months old, causing permanent brain injuries. After deliberating almost four hours, the jury told Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Pat Joyce they were deadlocked, but she urged them to keep working.........Richter, now 44, testified Wednesday she’d finished feeding the other children that day, had prepared Lane’s lunch and had gotten him out of his chair to feed him when she started to fall over another child behind her. “I picked him up, then stepped backwards,” she told  (defence lawyer) Farrow. “He was almost up to my hip.” She started crying as she continued: “I know I caught myself before I fell (on top of the other child) — and then I realized (Lane) wasn’t in my arms anymore.” Richter testified that she didn’t see how the baby hit the floor, but that “he was on the floor (and) he was screaming.” She said picked the boy off the floor, and he went limp in her arms. She couldn’t see any physical injuries.“I thought he’d died,” she said........ During his closing argument, (prosecutor) Richardson called Richter’s story “a flat-out lie” because of her “consciousness of guilt.” “Her story is a lie to cover up an angry situation,” Richardson explained, “where she shook Lane so violently that it caused a massive injury.” He argued the details of her story don’t add up. “An inconsistent history is a red flag for child abuse,” Richardson said. “The story doesn’t wash in medical science.” He encouraged the jurors to remember the testimony of the doctors who treated Lane Schaefer on Aug. 19, 2010 — the day he was hurt — and in the days and weeks since the incident. All but one testified that Lane’s blindness and permanent brain injuries could have been caused only by “abusive head trauma,” likely because he was shaken. Dr. John Plunkett, a retired Minnesota medical examiner who also testified in the 2013 trial, told the jury Wednesday morning that shaking babies really doesn’t cause the damage doctors used to think it causes. “Shaking is an extremely unlikely cause of those injuries,” Plunkett said. “Lane weighed 20-25 pounds. “It’s pretty difficult to hold that a child that size and shake it” with enough force to cause the trauma Lane Schaefer experienced. Plunkett also said a baby shaken that hard also should have had substantial neck injuries, but there were none. In his closing argument, Farrow noted there were disagreements among the University Hospital doctors who treated Lane about the cause of his injuries — and about whether the baby had had experienced bleeding in his brain before or after the incident. “Dr. Plunkett, a forensic pathologist, said these injuries can and do happen — because of falls,” Farrow said. But Richardson told the jury to discount Plunkett’s testimony because he used to testify that shaking a baby could cause the kind of damage Lane suffered but, in recent years, has testified only for defense attorneys and against the impact shaking a baby can cause. Farrow told the jury if Richter had made up a story to cover an intentional shaking, she would have made up a better one. “The reason it’s not the best story is she’s not making it up,” he argued."

The entire story can be found at:


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;