Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dad to be retried for 2008 killing of 4-month-old son (Troy, New York)

Dad is identified as ADRIAN THOMAS. Another case where CPS f***ed up and has continued to f*** up.


A child's death: Retrial begins Tuesday at father's trial

By Bob Gardinier
Updated 11:47 am, Tuesday, May 27, 2014

TROY - Jury selection will begin Tuesday in the retrial of Adrian Thomas, the man accused of killing his 4-month-old son Matthew six years ago.

Thomas was convicted in 2009 of second-degree murder after jurors decided he threw his son, Matthew, on a bed on three separate days in September 2008, causing severe head injuries that led to brain swelling and death.

The defense in the first trial insisted the baby died of sepsis, a blood infection brought on by a bout of pneumonia.

A midlevel appellate court upheld the conviction but the state Court of Appeals ordered a new trial, citing heavy-handed tactics used by investigators, who interrogated Thomas for almost nine hours. The interrogation was videotaped.

That video will not be shown to jurors at the new trial.

Earlier this month, Rensselaer County Judge Andrew Ceresia sided with the defense and ordered the press to leave the courtroom before a pretrial hearing in the case.

Ceresia ruled that reporting of the medical testimony from Rensselaer County Child Protective Services officials that was to be heard would "substantially prejudice" the defense in the eyes of the potential jury pool.

Defense attorneys Steve Coffey and Arthur Frost filed motions to exclude the press and Ceresia has sealed all pretrial evidence from the public.

Assistant District Attorney Kelly Egan argued for the court to remain open, saying the potential jury pool was not small. "And, a lot of publicity has been promoted by the defendant himself," Egan said.

A lawyer for the Hearst Corp., which owns the Times Union, tried but failed to convince Ceresia to reverse his decision.

"I am arguing that there are unique circumstances in this case that allows me to make this ruling," Ceresia told the attorney.

Pretrial motions filed in the first trial showed child abuse investigators twice probed allegations of abuse at the family's home in the Cedar Park Apartments on 21st Street. In one instance, there was a report that a child was "severely disciplined." But officials said no children were removed from the home after either incident.

A medical mix-up early on in the case caused the defense attorney, Jerome Frost, the since-retired public defender, to call for all charges to be dropped.

At the time, the defense asked Albany Medical Center Hospital for records of the deceased child, and were given paperwork for Matthew's identical twin brother, Malachai. Frost argued that prosecutors had a problem with their case if they could not determine which child had died.

The hospital stated that the baby's mother either intentionally or mistakenly began to refer to each infant by the other's name, contrary to birth certificates. The hospital has said records show that even its pediatric clinicians sometimes mixed up the twins.

Matthew remained the victim's name and the hospital successfully sought to have the judge seal their records, which outlined how the mistake was made and how it was remedied, from the defense and the public.

Thomas, 31, remains in the Rensselaer County Jail.