A Reflection into the Infamous Cases of 2014

by Antoinnette Borbon

As the 2014 year comes to a close, I took some time to reflect on all of the infamous cases I have covered as a reporter for the Vanguard.

One of the first cases that came to mind is the case against 11 men who were arrested and charged with gang-affiliated drug crimes.

Operation Red Sash was the name authorities gave to the year-long undercover operation in which YONET (Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement team) and the Yolo County Gang Task Force worked together before raiding the homes of the 18 alleged gang members. Only 11 men would be charged.

But during a lengthy trial, four of the 11 arrested, were acquitted on the gang enhancements. There was  not enough evidence to prove in the end that anything was for the benefit of a gang.

Most of the men had gone through a de-briefing while in prison.

However, Deputy District Attorney Robin Johnson was not satisfied that the men were non-active gang members and pursued getting a conviction.

Putting up a powerful defense, Attorneys John Brennan, Dan Olsen, J. Toney, and Clark Head tore the entire case of Operation Red Sash apart.

Ultimately, charges were reduced to drug possession with priors on some.

Involved in the undercover operation were two seasoned drug enforcement agents.

Gary Richter and Ryan Bellamy testified to buying drugs from the defendants during their operation. Both Richter and Bellamy worked in conjunction with the gang task force. But the raid netted only small amounts of methamphetamine and cash after a year-long investigation.

Even though drug task force had put their time in on the case, alongside the gang task force, jurors were not convinced the drug offenses were committed for the benefit of the street gang, “Broderick Boys.”

The second trial, involving the other defendants arrested in the raid, was dismissed with plea bargains.

Attorney David Garland went back and forth with his client, Valentino Castanon, for nearly an hour before getting him to agree to the plea.

Castanon, who later spoke with the Vanguard, asserted his innocence. He told the Vanguard he had nothing to do with the men of West Sacramento and had no gang affiliation with them.

But he did admit guilt to absconding while on parole. He was charged with possession of meth found in his girlfriend’s home in Woodland, and having priors.

Attorney Jeff Raven’s client’s charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. It put an end to any other trials involving the rest of the 11 defendants.

Operation Red Sash was a difficult case to show that gang enhancements were untrue.

The gang task force testified that most gang members are still affiliated with some sort of gang even after a de-briefing, once released from prison, for the purpose of protection.

But jurors in this case felt otherwise.

One juror told the Vanguard, “There was just not enough evidence presented to prove this was to benefit any gang.”

Operation Red Sash was squashed.

Another trial, one of the most controversial, was the state’s case against a young man who had allegedly shaken his two-month-old baby, causing the infant’s death.

Deputy District Attorneys Steve Mount, Robin Johnson and Chris Jung worked hard to prove that the infant had not fallen off the bed as the defendant claimed, but that instead he was shaken roughly enough to cause several injuries, leading to his death.

More than a few doctors testified during trial, giving contradicting testimony.

Some of the defense’s doctors even admitted they had not taken time to look at X-rays or the reports of other doctors.

But a forensic neurologist, Dr. Omalu, testified to dissecting the baby’s brain. In his lengthy testimony, Omalu pointed out multiple injuries, involving both sides of the brain and orbital areas, attributable to shaken baby syndrome.

In his exam, he also found broken ribs, of a squeezing type of fracture.

Evidence was strong against the man, according to the prosecution, but jurors went against that notion with an acquittal.

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The trial of People vs. Stone proved to be one of the most emotional trials of the year.

In the end, the case raised many questions surrounding the science of shaken baby syndrome, demonstrating a need for updated research/facts. It also begged for deeper investigations into these types of deaths and their causes.

Another death of a child occurred in People vs. Talamantes. In this trial, the defense fought for “guilty by reason of insanity.”

A Davis woman who had suffered physical, mental, and sexual abuse, causing mental health issues, drowned her little girl in a tub after a welfare check by police was done which found her to be okay, according to testimony.

Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens discredited the insanity defense.

During trial, the defendant’s sister testified that Talamantes suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, but no actual diagnoses of it was discovered during trial.

Couzens revealed that Talamantes had been asking her sister to send her information about mental disorders.

Couzens expressed in closing that Ms. Talamantes was not willing to take personal accountability for her actions.

During the defense’s case, a story emerged about a horrific childhood involving several types of abuse, which pushed Ms. Talamantes into an awful state of mind on the morning she took the life of her little girl.

Officers who testified about that day wept as they gave an account of the events.

Videotape from the police dashcam showed officers trying to resuscitate little Tatiana Talamantes when they found her in the trunk of her mother’s car.

Couzens explained that Ms. Talamantes was fully aware of what she had done that morning. He pointed out that she had made the commitment to drowned the little girl, then put her in a bag in the trunk and drove to Sacramento. Talamantes was seen at an ATM taking out money. She had also stopped by her old apartment complex to pick up a deposit check.

In his emotionally provoking closing, Couzens told jurors that Talamantes exhibited calm behavior after killing her daughter and was trying to escape personal accountability by claiming the insanity defense.

But the defense explained that Talamantes suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other paranoid disorders, for which she had been taking medicine inconsistently.

Talamantes had been using recreational drugs during periods of her life as a means of coping with her illness too, defense asserted.

The jurors wasted no time in convicting Ms. Talamantes, disbelieving the insanity plea.

At the top of the heap of 2014’s most talked about cases is that of a young boy who suffered from deep depression. A depression which stemmed from several factors.

It was a story about a young boy to whom doctors had given SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to cope and control his depressive state, some of which may have caused him to experience homicidal thoughts.

Daniel Marsh, at 12 years old, had once been deemed a hero. Daniel saved his dad’s life as he suffered a heart attack while driving.

That event would later be one of Daniel’s first morbid accounts of experiences which troubled him, that he expressed to therapists.

While there had been little knowledge of the emotional abuse Marsh may have suffered at the hands of his parents, it too was deemed a contributing factor in his depression.

Although Marsh was able to express himself very well to therapists, it was alleged that some ignored the seriousness of what was going on in his troubled mind.

To most who knew the boy, he was an above-average kid, soft-spoken, articulate in his thoughts, intelligent, and talented.

Over time, Daniel became withdrawn from classmates. He was thought of as dark, and bullied by some. It intensified his depressive feelings.

 School counselor at Davis High felt Marsh’s behavior was dangerous and had asked his doctor to think about an alternative schooling for Marsh. But it didn’t happen.

In fact, for a year-long period, Marsh went unseen by his Kaiser doctor, even though prescriptions were continuously refilled, changed or increased. At one point, Marsh was taking four to five different medications, all of which were apparently causing terrible side effects.

After several attempts at suicide, Marsh’s depression deepened. He explained to therapists the dreams he was having about killing people.

But Marsh also expressed to doctors, “I don’t want to feel this way anymore, I want them to stop.”  He had reported these feelings for more than two years.

Marsh stated to doctors that he felt “out of body” experiences at times and often did not know if he was in a dream or reality.

Marsh admitted to becoming obsessed with dark things and researching serial killers.  He watched horror films with friends as he smoked marijuana and drank to try to help calm his thoughts and/or feelings, he told doctors.

 But, on the night of April 14, 2013, it was too late.

 Marsh made a decision to carry out those horrific thoughts.

 He adorned himself in black and set out to find a person to subdue his urges.

It was after checking about 50 houses, Marsh stated to the FBI agent, that he found an open window at the home of an elderly couple in Davis.

As he crept in and headed towards the bedroom, his adrenaline took over.

Daniel confessed to what he felt in his mind to be that of a “sure real experience, higher than being on opiates.” It gave him a high for a few days afterwards, he told the FBI agent.

Daniel says, “as I stood there in the bedroom, I knew it was too late to turn back, I had to go through with it.”

The case against Daniel Marsh concluded with differences of opinion, some viewing Marsh as “evil.”

But for others, Daniel’s story gained empathy.

The case brought attention to tactics of interrogation and a defendant’s constitutional rights. It also brought to the forefront the confidentiality between patient and therapist and when it should be broken, and our mental healthcare system.

Another concern about the case was child vs. adult defendant and the insanity phase.

Lead Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson filed motions to keep media from attending trial for fear of biasing a jury. But they were denied.

Prosecutor Amanda Zambor described Marsh as “sadistic, cunning, calculating,” as he carried out the crime that night.

Family members and friends filled the courtroom each day.

Jurors took little time to deliberate on both the first degree murder charges and the insanity phase of trial.

Daniel Marsh was found to be sane and guilty of all charges.

During the four-week trial, some media outlets portrayed Marsh as lacking “emotion, unaffected,” however, there were times when he appeared affected by testimony, per the Vanguard‘s accounts.

Marsh hung his head, red-faced and covering his eyes, during parts of the trial.

Johnson explained to jurors that Marsh had been taken off all SSRIs and was doing much better.

Marsh still suffers from depression but has no more psychotic thoughts, the defense asserted.

One doctor testified that a “dissociative disorder” could not be ruled out but would need further testing.

Recently, Marsh was sentenced to 52 years with a chance of parole.

A premeditated domestic homicide of a  Winters woman, Leslie Pinkston, was also a case of interest.

The case involved an ex-boyfriend who had stalked and abused Ms. Pinkston,  ending in tragedy.

William Gardner III had a female acquaintance drive him to Winters and park as he got off of her van and walked over to the black BMW of Pinkston’s.

He slid into the backseat of the SUV and shot her in the back of the head.

Leslie Pinkston became yet another victim of domestic abuse in our county.

Gardner and Pinkston had dated for a period of five or so years. Friends and family members testified to the relationship being tumultuous.

Leslie Pinkston had tried to break the relationship off with Gardner but it fueled a fire.

Gardner had a long history of domestic abuse against other girlfriends and had also been using some of the women to prostitute for him.

After shooting Pinkston as she sat in her car, Gardner fled to Las Vegas where U.S. Marshals and Las Vegas police found him holed up in a friend’s apartment.

While the apartment was surrounded by authorities, Gardener phoned Derek Shore from a local news station. Derek tried to get Gardner to tell him what happened and why, but Gardner eluded his questioning.

Gardner and Shore’s taped conversation was played for jurors. But the conversation gave little information into the events of Ms. Pinkston’s death.

Gardner surrendered after awhile and was brought back to face first degree murder charges with enhancements.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Riesig was the prosecuting attorney, along with Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays.

Riesig explained Gardner’s actions as “deliberate and intentional,” stating Gardner carried out a planned execution, surprising his victim by hiding in the backseat of her car.

On the morning of her death, Pinkston was seen talking on her cell phone. Witnesses testified that she sounded upset. It was moments later that she walked outside to get inside of her SUV.

Gardner waited in the backseat.

Some of the ex-girlfriends and acquaintances of Gardner’s testified to his abusive behavior. Some admitted to being prostitutes for the man.

Gardner showed no reaction.

Gardner was convicted after a short deliberation.

Although Ms. Pinkston had helped to bail out Gardner after a stalking incident, she was not notified once he was released. In Pinkston and Gardner’s jail phone conversation, she told Gardner she still loved him.

In fact, testimony proved there to be about a thousand phone calls to Ms. Pinkston from Gardner while he sat in Yolo County Jail.

It raised some questions.

According to a domestic abuse therapist, Pinkston’s behavior was typical of a woman who was in the “honeymoon phase” of a domestic violence relationship.

She explained that often times after a woman is abused, they will go back to the person and things will resemble a “honeymoon type” stage. Most women believe their abuser will not do it again.

As Gardner left the courtroom after sentencing, he accused his counsel of being a racist and the judge of being a Klansman.

Family and close friends of Leslie Pinkston attended the trial to its duration.

Some were overcome with emotion after the verdict was read. Hugging and holding hands, they comforted one another and thanked our DA for swift justice.

But perhaps one of the most troubling cases, to me, is the four co-defendant alleged gang case that is now headed for a fourth trial, if the judge allows.

One of the most troubling aspects is the fact that we have now had two hung juries, each time with a juror or two stating they did not have enough evidence to convict.

One of the supposed trials got as far as opening statements, when a juror admitted to knowing two of the defendants.

Each time the case had a full trial, no real new evidence was provided on either side.  A few Facebook pages were added but were, at best, ambiguous.

An even greater factor is that the four Hispanic men were convicted of gang enhancements. It is problematic because from Penal Code section 186.20 et seq, gang-related crimes should accompany a conviction of an underlying crime, although there is apparently ambiguity in the code which has led to some gang enhancements being treated as stand-alone crimes.

The only one of the of four men who was convicted of robbery and evading police was Juan Fuentes. It left the remaining three carrying the gang enhancement conviction.

Another concern is how much this case has already cost taxpayers and how much more we will pay for a possible conviction. Is it all worth it?

Perhaps it is time to count the cost.

In the last Vanguard Event we focused on Prosecutorial Misconduct, in which we featured Scott Sanders from Orange County who spoke about cases with problems.

This co-defendant alleged gang case definitely reveals a list of problems, both legally, financially and perhaps ethically.

Each case exhibits its own individual issues, raising awareness where it is so desperately needed.

Whether the focus be on a mental health issue, domestic abuse, drug effects, insanity pleas or gang-related charges, all of these cases provoke thoughts for change.

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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  1. Tia Will


    First thanks for taking the time to put together these case summaries. I have enjoyed your reporting throughout the year and the engendered conversations.

    I have one very small quibble with your piece on the Marsh case. You state:

    A story about a young boy who doctors had given SSRI’s to cope and control his depressive state. Some of which caused him to experience homicidal thoughts.”

    We do not actually know the role, if any, of the SSRI’s, in the evolution of Mr. Marsh’s homicidal ideation. While there is certainly evidence that SSRI’s can be associated with suicidal and homicidal ideation in adolescents, proving that this has indeed occurred in any specific case is a much more difficult proposition.

    1. Elizabeth Bowler

      Tia, admittedly, it is almost impossible to definitively “prove” anything pertaining to one’s mental state and this case was no exception.  There was, however, considerable expert testimony regarding the role of SSRI’s in the evolution of Marsh’s violent thoughts which I assume is what is being referred to here, in addition to the fact that the violent thoughts stopped once the SSRI’s were discontinued.

      1. Tia Will


        I partially agree with your assessment and would certainly not recommend the definitive test which would be to re challenge with an SSRI. I will certainly do this with medications in which I strongly doubt the causal nature of the medication to a side effect and there is substantial benefit to the patient incurred by taking the medication but it would be strongly contraindicated in this case.

        Given the multifactorial and recurrent, relapsing nature of depression, I do not think that we have enough evidence provided here to make such a strong indictment of the SSRIs in this particular case. At the time the SSRIs were discontinued, many other changes were also occurring. Mr. Marsh was now no longer living with his family, he was in a strictly regimented living situation, he did not have access to other drugs such as marijuana and/or alcohol, he did not have unrestricted use of the internet or gaming equipment…. virtually every aspect of his life was altered, not just his access to SSRIs. What we do not know is what the role of restriction of any of these other factors may have played, and we have no way of sorting out which were the contributing factors unless we were to hold everything else constant and reintroduce the SSRIs, which of course we cannot do for moral reasons.

        1. Elizabeth Bowler

          Tia, I agree with you about the inadvisability of a rechallenge, but I think you may have misunderstood my point, which was that I don’t think that Antoinnette herelf indicted SSRI’s but rather made the statement based upon her understanding of the expert testimony of Dr. James Merikangas, arguably  the leading neuropsychiatrist in the country and one of the world’s foremost authorities on violent behavior.   Clearly the jury were not persuaded though which is all that matters at the end of the day.

    2. Antoinnette

      True, Tia…a lot we do not know. But again, it was a contributing factor, not the sole cause.

      Thank you for your kind words and as always your insight, wisdom. It has been interesting to say the least…lol.

  2. Anon

    “The second trial, involving the other defendants arrested in the raid,  was dismissed with plea bargains.”

    “Operation Red Sash was squashed.”

    Huh?  How was Operation Red Sash “squashed” if some of the defendants plead guilty in plea bargain arrangements?

    “Evidence was strong against the man according to prosecution but jurors went against that notion with an acquittal.”

    But you don’t say what defense was put on, that obviously was quite successful.  What was the reasonable doubt put forward by the defense?

    “In his emotionally provoking closing, Couzens told jurors that Talamantes exhibited calm behavior after killing her daughter and was trying to escape personal accountability by claiming the insanity defense.”

    Why the use of the word “provoking”, which IMO implies Couzens should not have been emotional, because it unnecessarily provoked jurors into a conviction.  Seems to show a hospitality to the prosecutor.

    “While little knowledge of the emotional abuse Daniel suffered at the hands of his parents, it too was deemed a contributing factor into his depression.”

    Who deemed there was emotional abuse by Daniel’s parents and that it was a contributing factor of his depression?  The defense?  How convenient, since there was apparently “little knowledge” of it (I assume no evidence).  Did the parents have the opportunity to deny such allegations, or would they even avail themselves of such an opportunity if given the chance?  In other words the emotional abuse excuse very well could have been concocted by the defense out of thin air.

    “In fact, for a year long period, Daniel went unseen by his Kaiser doctor, even though prescriptions were continuously refilled, changed or increased. At one point, Daniel was taking four to five different medications, all of which were giving him terrible side effects.”

    Daniel could have picked up the phone and alerted his doctors he was having bad side effects.  A doctor cannot read Daniel’s mind.

    “The case brought attention to tactics of interrogation and a defendants constitutional rights. It also brought to the forefront, confidentiality between patient, therapist and when it should be broken and our mental healthcare system.”

    Huh?  How did the case “bring attention to interrogation and defendant’s constitutional rights”?  In what way did the interrogation violate the law or violate the defendant’s constitutional rights?


    1. Antoinnette

      Thank you “Anon,” good points and/or questions.

      First, in the Operation Red Sash, my intent was to show no other trials followed once the acquittal but yes, there was a plea for second set of men. It was supposed to be a three part division, three separate trials, just meant it was over, that was all.

      Second, Yes, absolutely, the defense did put on a good case against prosecution’s in Stone. This was such a long piece that even after going over it, I knew I would end up leaving out a lot, apologize. Defense raised several questions and doubt into the Shaken Baby Syndrome. They obviously did a great job!

      Third, during trial of People v. Talamantes, jurors shed tears as they watched the video of officers trying to resuscitate little Tatianna, as defendant’s sister was screaming in the background. It was enough to cause anyone to feel something? In his closing he may have become overwhelmed as many do in trial. I imagine it is tough to keep emotion under control. However, don’t believe it was intentional to convince jurors?

      A “hospitality towards Couzens,” hmmm…perhaps I do professionally, do believe he’s one of the best trial lawyers I have observed and he’s always treated me with respect, kindness. But sure he is not the only one I have shown hospitality to.

      Fourth, in Daniel’s Marsh, yes, there was little evidence backing up emotional abuse and No, the parents did not testify to those allegations. The only information we had was Daniel’s statements to several doctors about what disturbed him.

      In regards to, “Daniel picking up the phone and calling himself,” well, that is a little bothersome. As a parent we have an accountability for our children. It is unreasonable to expect a child to always do the right thing, that is one of the things that separates children from adults, right? Too, if you read testimony from trial, he did reach out several times. It was no surprise how he was feeling, all of the doctors who attended Marsh were fully aware of these feelings and/or thoughts, depression. I felt he did a pretty good job at letting people know what troubled him.

      However, not making excuses for him, only exercising a little reasonability of thought. IMO…of course.

      We know from trial that Daniel had two parents who had a lot of problems themselves and at times did a lot of reaching out for Daniel. But it wasn’t enough, nothing seemed to calm those thoughts and/or feelings.  It may have become overwhelming for his parents and they gave up? We can only speculate? Neither testified?

      But again, not making excuses for his actions. Too, just a contributing factor.

      As far as bringing attention to “interrogation tactics, constitutional rights,” these two topics were touched on both in prelim, motions and trial. I just didn’t add this in this piece but it may have been in prior articles?

      But the judge dismissed motions by defense. Maybe in appellate court it will gain some weight, if there is an appeal?

      I may not have answered your questions but did the best I could. I do appreciate your comments though and thank you for reading.


      1. Anon

        Thanks so much for taking the time to give very intelligent responses.  By the way, the spell check miscorrected a word – hospitality.  It should have read hostility.  LOL

  3. Elizabeth Bowler

    Thank you, Antoinnette, for this review of some of the major court cases of 2014.  I have very much enjoyed your reporting on these cases and others and am thankful that you and the others attend these cases and provide such extensive coverage.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Tia Will


    Daniel could have picked up the phone and alerted his doctors he was having bad side effects.  A doctor cannot read Daniel’s mind.”

    As I recall, from the reporting, Daniel did on several occasions mention worsening of his symptoms and additional symptoms developing while he was on medications and that according to the reporting these complaints were neither addressed directly nor shared with other providers. Perhaps Antoinnette or someone else will recall or repost the specifics.

    I also think it is important to remember that at the relevant time prior to the murders, Daniel was around 13 or 14 when he began his descent into worsening mental illness. Do we really expect that a 13-14 year old carries the same responsibility as an adult to be able to address his symptoms clearly and consistently with a health care professional ? I know that at these ages, I was the one taking responsibility for my children’s health.

      1. Antoinnette

        Agree, and bare in mind, he started having these thoughts long before he was 15. That being said, it is anyone’s guess how he could of, should of, reacted…children need guidance all of the time. It is our responsibility as a parent.

        Even more so with a mental health and/or health condition.

        1. Anon

          Yes, I was thinking Daniel was 17, forgetting that he would have been younger at the time of the perpetration of the crime and prior.  It is not clear to me if the doctors were at fault herel, for not following up on medication side effects. If the doctors did not know, because no one told them, that is one thing.  If the doctors knew but did nothing, that is another thing.

    1. Antoinnette

      Correct, Tia..

      During trial there were reports that were not read by Daniel’s regular doctor at Kaiser and some who did not consult with each other about what was going on with him, not sure why? No elaborate answer on the subject during testimony?

      But it was talked about in trial.


    2. hpierce

      Tia… at what age do you believe that a young, pregnant woman  “carries the same responsibility as an adult to be able to address his symptoms clearly and consistently with a health care professional “?  ‘I know that at these ages, I was the one taking responsibility for my children’s health”.  So, for a pregnant young women ‘at those ages’ who should decide to terminate a pregnancy?  Parent, or pregnant child?

  5. sisterhood

    Hello Antoinnette, thank you for spending so much of your  time in 2014 in the courtroom listening to and reporting on so many trials. Your time is valuable and I appreciate your reporting. Happy 2015.

  6. DavisBurns

    I am wondering about the Stone case and how or if the family recovers from the accusations of child abuse/endangerment.  The Stones have a right to their privacy and my questions are about how child welfare handles such cases.  I remember after he was charged, he had to move out of the family home and he could only have supervised visits with his other child. Did all the restrictions just disappear after he was found not guilty or does child protective services have a lower standard that allowed (or required) them to have continued involvement?  Once again, I respect the family’s right to privacy but perhaps it would be possible to learn if social services has responsibilities post-trial.


    1. Antoinnette

      Good questions, Davisburns. I do not know what happens after an acquittal in a case like this one, maybe someone else could answer that question? An attorney or someone from social services? TJ, or Davisprogressive?

      We don’t know what happened with the family after trial? My guess is they were allowed to be back together but have no knowledge of it.


      1. Michael Nolan

        As a general rule in California, when Child Protective Services seeks a civil court order against a parent on behalf of a child, the burden of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence — (i.e. more likely than not).  Of course, a criminal proceeding requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. [An example of the difference between criminal and civil standards is that while O.J. Simpson won his criminal trial, he lost the civil wrongful death action].

        But another difference is that criminal trials are open to the public and press, while CPS actions are closed to the public and press.    So the final outcome of a particular case may not become known until years later when particular circumstances may change.

        1. zaqzaq

          Was there any indication that there was another hearing where a judge came to different conclusion than the jury regarding the death of the child?  What court orders were in place concerning contact between Stone and his other children?  Did these orders originate from the criminal case or another proceeding brought by CPS?  As Mr. Nolan notes the criminal case has a higher burden.  Can this information be obtained from any of the previous hearings?  Did any of the witnesses mention testifying before?  Was this a preliminary hearing or grand jury case?  It would be really interesting if a judge thought Stone killed the child in one hearing and the jury found a reasonable doubt in the criminal case.  This would be very similar to the OJ case and would be something that I assume the family would want to keep quiet.

  7. DavisBurns

    I checked the Internet to see if there was info (general, not this case) but only found LOTS of people convicted of shaken baby syndrome.  I’m sure it varies from state to state but my limited knowledge of social services says they have the authority to do welfare checks and I would guess, as long as they are concerned, they can be involved.  The standard for intervention is nothing like that for a criminal arrest.  I think it also depends on what their current mandate is–it changes depending on what’s in the news, blowback for either not doing their job protecting kids or overstepping their bounds protecting kids at the expense of breaking up families and who is in charge.

    To be fair, I think they have a very difficult job however, I cannot imagine what I would do or how safe I would feel taking care of my child after this sort of accusation. Kids stumble and fall, they are slippery when wet and hard to hold onto when bathing.

    I raised four kids.  Sometimes they fall…my 9 month old had just learned  to walk and was toddling between four adults standing around her in a circle.  Despite all those adult hands to catch her, she fell and cried which caused a not-yet-diagnosed genetic heart condition to flatline.  Her heart restarted and she got a pacemaker soon thereafter but the first thing I was asked when I called the doctor was “how do punish your daughter when she is bad?”  I was unclear on how a nine month old could be “bad” and she had a completely bizarre EKG so I wasn’t hassled the next 13 times her heart stopped but without the EKG I think it would have been a different story. It is unnerving to think a child could die in your care but after reading about the Stone trial, I wonder about the judgement of friends who offer to babysit, people who run daycare homes and parents who let their teenagers babysit.

    1. Anon

      “Kids stumble and fall, they are slippery when wet and hard to hold onto when bathing.”

      Absolutely.  As a parent, you are responsible 24/7, which is literally impossible.  At some point you will make a mistake, and you just have to hope your child does not suffer as a consequence.  Just read a very sad article about parents who lost their 12 year old son.  They gave him a scooter for Christmas.  They all had gone on a trip to England w the scooter.  A group of adults and children were riding together, in a field.  The child that died got a little ahead of his dad, started down a hill, got going too fast, ended up dashing into the middle of a road and was immediately hit and killed by a truck.  Life can be very unpredictable, and no one is immune from tragedy.  I certainly made some dumb mistakes while raising my children, but fortunately none of them got hurt.

  8. Antoinnette

    Yes, agree, it can be scary either way.

    Jurors had so much to consider either way, lots of contradicted findings, explanations of what may have happened and argument over the science of shaken baby syndrome. Pointedly why I said it must be updated, researched further. More testing done as well. It would be hard to prosecute or defend if I did not have conclusive evidence of how death occurred. Just my thoughts…

    I believe it is mandatory to ask about abuse if a child presents in ER or doctor’s office with bruises or breaks. I know when my nephew broke my son’s leg at two, the first thing I was asked was, “did I abuse him.” Thankfully, my sister was there to be witness of what happened or things could have gone the other way.

    Sorry to hear about your daughter, hopefully she is doing better now.

    Accidents can happen no matter how hard you try to prevent them. But with any luck, there will be a witness so there is no question.

    Thank you for the research on this subject too…:)

    1. Miwok

      It is stupid and not going to add to the truth to ask a parent of an injured child “did you abuse him”.

      They should treat the injury and then research the kid for other injuries to develop a theory that abuse was a factor. I think too many of these caregivers watch TV for a living. Like a doctor asking people if they have guns, why don’t they ask if they have soft drinks or cigarettes in their home, if they smoke dope, or do drugs? That would be relevant information.

    1. Antoinnette

      Hello Mike!


      Thank you for clearing up some questions. I appreciate that, you are the expert not I..lol.

      Yes, we know of his book. David went to listen to him. I had no interest. I will leave it at that…

      Thank you for reading, commenting and supporting us!

      Have a great New Year!

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