Prosecution Makes Strong Comeback In Infant Death Trial

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Yolo-Count-Court-Room-600by Antoinnette Borbon and Andrew Reis

The prosecution made a strong comeback today, using direct evidence in the case against Quentin Stone.  Quentin is accused of “shaking” his two-month-old baby twin, ultimately causing his death in September of 2012.  He told doctors that his toddler had pushed or dragged the infant off the three-foot-high bed in the master bedroom.

Although last week the defense had hammered away at the prosecution’s case against Stone, jurors got to see and hear damaging evidence against the defendant.

One of the doctors who was working in the ICU department at UCD, Dr. Marson, testified to the injuries he saw from the CAT, or CT, scan when the baby was brought into the hospital.

Dr. Marson told jurors that the baby had suffered two bleeds in the brain and had arrived with one eye swollen shut. He said the two separate bilateral bleeds, in both the subdural area and subarachnoid, were conducive to trauma.

He noted from viewing the CT scan that he had never seen this type of bleed from a fall. He also talked about the injury to the left eye that he had written about in his report.  He stated the bleed could have occurred anytime between 0 and up to 7 days prior, but from the results of the CT scan there was evidence that the areas injured were more indicative of forced trauma, rather than any type of bleeding disorder.

When asked in cross by defense if the brain could have been bleeding before the fall and then the fall caused a re-bleed, he answered, “It is possible, but not likely.” Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequiera then began asking questions about the possibilities of an aneurism and seizures.

She stated, “I don’t want you to think so, I don’t want you to guestimate, just answer the question if you know it.” Dr. Marson told defense counsel that he goes by his research and other symptoms associated  with the fall or injury.

He said, “If there were vomiting, lethargy, trouble tracking or sleeplessness, it would indicate a head injury.”  He said he consulted with another doctor who had suspected, from looking at the injuries, that they were caused by abuse. Dr. Marson said CPS and authorities had been notified.

The state would call the ophthalmologist from UCD Med Center. Dr. Patel testified to the pictures shown to the court of the eyes of the infant. Deputy District Attorney Steven Mount asked him to describe what was evident from the pictures. Dr. Patel said the bleeding in both retinas of the eyes, in three layers but not involving the optic nerve, was caused by a trauma to the eye.

He stated, “I have never seen this type of injury in anyone who had fallen, this is from a forced trauma because of the way it bled in all areas.” He said it could have been trauma from a few days prior or even a month but was not, in his opinion, caused from a fall. He said the bleeding would not have been in all three layers, unaffecting the optic nerve, and that is a sign of trauma.

DDA Mount asked if it could have come from a punch to the eye, and Dr. Patel replied, “Yes.” Dr. Patel stated, “Depending on the biological factors of a person, an injury could take less or longer time to heal.” But he reiterated that he had never seen this type of injury from just a fall.

The DDA then asked if the infant had sustained the injury from the fall, would he have had trouble tracking. Dr. Patel stated, “Yes, it would be difficult for the infant to see anything.” He said there was too much blood in the retinas of both eyes, which can only be caused from severe trauma to the eye.

Defense had few questions for Dr. Patel. Ms. Sequiera asked if it had been Dr. Coulter who requested that he to examine the baby, and he replied, “Yes.” “And why did he ask you?” defense asked. “He suspected a non-accidental injury.” Dr. Patel answered.

Taking the stand briefly was the young woman who had known the Stone family for about the last 11 years and had often babysat the family’s infants and toddler.

Kyle Englehart was asked by the DDA if she had ever witnessed the couple getting angry or yelling at the children. She told jurors that Quentin Stone was a great father, loving and concerned and had never seen him mad. Kyle stated, “Sara Stone was my soccer coach and I have only seen her get mad during a soccer game, but she never got angry with the children. “ She testified, “Quentin was not only a good father, but a good person who cared about me.”

DDA Deyoung asked if, while babysitting the infants and the toddler, she had noticed Sam vomiting or having any other symptoms that would concern her. “No, I love children and want to be a pediatrician so I notice things and he may have spit up a little, like when you drink and then spit up but never vomiting.” she replied.

“So you never noticed any limp episodes? Or seizure-like activity? asked the DDA. “No, Sam was different than Henry, he liked to sleep a lot and Henry was awake more and ate more. I think I would have noticed if he had gone limp but never did,” answered Kyle. Deyoung asked about the couple’s toddler and if he had ever tried to pick up the babies, and she replied, “No.”

She told jurors that the toddler had always been near her, often lying on the couch with her, watching his favorite movies. Kyle stated that the toddler had only jumped on the couch in front of her and nothing else. She also said her friend would accompany her to help with the infants when she went to babysit.

The DDA asked if she had ever left the toddler alone, and her reply was, “No.”

Defense had no cross for her.

Ending the day on the stand for the prosecution’s case was Tom Carlson, Quentin’s brother-in-law. He began his testimony by telling DDA Mount that he had been somewhat of a “go between” for the family, as he had been a therapist who knows about head trauma and has beena longtime friend. Carlson talked briefly about the night the baby was taken to Woodland Memorial. He told Mount that he did see the swollen-shut eye from a distance as they were loading up the baby for transfer to UCD. He testified to knowing about the fall, but only knew of some difficulty with tracking.

The DDA asked, “And were you present when the baby was in ICU?” He replied, “Yes, I stayed with Sam so the Stones could get legal things in order and rest.” Carlson said he had visited the family at least two to three times a week during the 30-day period after the fall, but could not recall if the infant had been spitting up before or after the fall.

A weeping Carlson stated, “I wanted to be with him, wait for them to donate his organs.” He states, “I wanted the Stones to get things straight, legally, so as to not end up here.”

Carlson said he was escorted out of the ICU room by a police officer and received the call from CPS to inform him they were picking up the other children. He said the toddler had been staying at his house and the twin infant was with the grandparents.

As the day ended and the jurors filed out of the courtroom, more than a few had tears coming down.

Testimony continues with Carlson in the morning.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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7 thoughts on “Prosecution Makes Strong Comeback In Infant Death Trial”

  1. Davis Progressive

    this is a very disappointing report. as the vanguard wrote yesterday, there is a lot of research that shaken baby syndrome is psuedo-science, so why buy in just because the da makes a good case? needs to be more skeptical treatment of this subject and i would have expected the vanguard to be on the frontlines of that.

  2. Antoinnette

    Well, science is only a theory. Albiet it may explain the possibilities of what could be….it does not disregard the facts or physical evidence in this case. But, too, I do not feel I am being biased to present the other side of the story; only fair.

    I thank you for the feedback anyway.

    1. Davis Progressive

      sorry, i have to rake you over the coals a bit. science is not only a theory. science is a system of evaluating data and measures in an empirical and objective manner.

      the problem here is that the science is not settled. the courts have failed to establish procedures and objective ways to evaluate the competing testimony of doctors and so we end up with a bunch of every day people who are not doctors – judges, lawyers, jurors, even journalists – making the call. that’s not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

  3. Antoinnette

    True, Ptogressive…just making the point it can still go either way. Yes, State has the obligation of making things as clear as possible for jurors. So far, this trial has been like watching a ping pong game in play.

    Stay tuned, and thanks for the feedback…sometjmes I need a “raking kver the coals!” Lol…

  4. tj

    Surprising to me is that the defense attorney apparently didn’t point out that a fall doesn’t preclude trauma.
    When the baby fell, he may have fallen onto something that damaged his eye(s).

    Patel is a Fellow who’s here from India on a visa. I found him rather slap dash with his patients.

    Sometimes DA’s put pressure on people who are here on visa’s.

  5. Elizabeth Bowler

    I certainly hope that the defense is planning to put on an expert or two to counter some of this testimony, for example that bilateral retinal hemorrhages are always due to trauma as that is absolutely not the case. It is very disappointing to see such medical testimony.

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