Day 3 of the Bostian first degree murder trial for the death of his 7 week old son began at 9 am, with the accused father, Jackey Bostian, testifying.
His attorney, Sara Hartness, asked him about Jessica’s anxiety issues, his relationship with Jessica’s parents, the family party after the basketball game, and the night Ridley fell off of the couch.
Around 9:40, Hartness asked h about his post on Yahoo Answers, where he asked about marital relations and depression in an Internet forum, he added that he didn’t reslize his name would show up on Yahoo. He said they talked about his posts later, and then the topic turned to Jessica buying contraceptives.
Bostian told the courat that the couple still occasionally had enjoyable times, together .
Around 10:00, testimony turned to the night that the ambulance was called to their home. Jackey told the court that Jessica woke him up, and said she was going to Walmart. He then described how Ridley was crying, and that he thought it may be from Ridley’s severe diaper rash. He then told how Ridley sighed, with his arms outstretched, and became unresponsive.
Questioning again turned to cell phones. Both phones were very similar, his had a red case (Jessica earlier told that the case was off of his phone, and she just grabbed a phone from were they charged them.)
Bostian continued by telling how Jessica walked in then, and began performing CPR, as 911 was being called. He continued telling the events that followed, similar to other testimonies given during the trial.
When asked about the tape recorded conversations and attorney hiring, Bostian replied, “They seemed to know more, and I trusted them.”
Bostian answered questions about the discussions with ACH staff, where abuse was discussed and the family first told about the broken bones.
After that conversation, he remembered Ridley falling off of the couch. He told the court that he first told Jessica, and then told her parents. Ms.Morris recorded his words that day, then said “you did this” and told him to give them his keys (to the house, car, truck, etc.).
Hartness asked “Did you shake your son, prior to him having a seziure and stop breathing? He answered “No.”
“Did you ever shake your son?” “No.”
The court took a recess until 11am.
At 11:00, the prosecutor, Frank Spain, cross-examined Bostian.
The first primary topic was intercourse issues between the couple, including her recent C-section and the Yahoo Answers postings.
After changing topics, Spain said,”Tell us why you didn’t tell them about it (falling off of the couch) earlier, if it might have saved the baby….”
Bostian- “They said it was like hitting the windshield at 60 MPH.”
The final prosecution questions were about text messages he sent apologizing; he said he was apologizing for not telling them about the fall earlier.
At 11:20, Hartness called an expert witness, a pathologist from Montgomey, AL.
He told the court that he’d reviewed 26 autopsy slides, medic records from both hospitals, and several other documenation sources, in preparation for this case.
Ridley had significant head trauma which caused a bleed, and changes within the brain.
He added the he felt the medical ecxamined aimed his investigation to point at the father, and expressed an opinion that may be favorable to one side. He commented these issues should be decided in court.
Hartness had him read a documenttween between the ACH medical examiner and a lawyer, where increasing the number of abusive events from 2 to 4.
His answers said that child abuse is a primary concern of the broken bones, and Ridley’s injuries couldn’t be caused by falling off of a couch.
Hartness – “Based on your opinion, do you feel that Ridley suffered one or two cases of head trauma?.”
Response – “2.”
The expert pathologist, when shown the autopsy photo showing the 3 small scabs, said he felt they were between the skin and the skull, and didn’t correctly line up with the head injuries; concluding that they weren’t related to the closed-head injuries.
He also stated that bloody spinal tap could’ve been “spun down” in a centrifuge to see if it were from the needle insertion or from earlier brain fluid.
Statement – “Homicidal shaking often finds with it marks around the ribs and broken bones.”
Hartness – “Is a broken clavical usually a result of shaken-baby syndrome?”
Response – “No.” He later commented, “This is another a shaken baby case.”
The witness was excused at 12:15.
It seems the defense’s purpose for calling him was to show that Ridley’s injuries were likely sustained before Jessica left him with Jackie. This adds importance to Hartness’ emphasis on the expert’s statement about not being able to determine the time frame between the event that caused the injury and the time that the injury’s symptoms appear: ”Feel it was more delayed than immediate.”
This conflicts with state’spathologist’s testimony, that it was immediate.
The jury will return at 1:30.
The attorneys met with Judge Sam Pope at 1:00 to agree on the jury’s instructions,, which were presented to the jury at 1:30.
Key items in the jury instructions include the work “knowingly” in the definition of 1st degree murder.
The other important item was that the lesser charge of manslaughter was also given to them as an optional verdict.
He also is facing the charge of 1st degree battery.
Closing arguments are beginning at 1:45.
The prosecution’s closing took 25 minutes and emphasized that there were 2 head wounds.
Spain also tried to show Bostian as ”controlling” by pointing out that he wanted to hold the baby as he slept, didn’t like for others to hold Ridley, and not wanting him to be around unrelated people.
The defense began their closing at 2:10, taking 40 minutes. Hartness offered that Jackey wasn’t controlling, based on how it has been testified to that he did whatever his wife and mother-in-law asked, many times over.
She pointed out that both expert witnesses testified that was a window of time involved in the symptom’s appearance, and then that Jessica and her family had been underplaying her anxiety attacks.
She described that morning as, “Jackey essentially just saw his baby die,” and added that no one except Jessica knew that the issues behind the 99 degree temperature were life-threatening.
She also showed the jury another Yahoo Answers that Jackey had posted earlier, referring to Ridley’s meningitis diagnosis.
As she began to end her closing, she said, “We have to guess what Jackey did on the 8th that would cause his child’s death.
Final remarks were made by the prosecution, who downplayed the severity of Jessica’s anxiety attacks, by saying that Jackey had calmed her down during one of them by simply holding her.
He explained “knowingly” as “knowing dander was possible”, and the Jackey could have been found “reckless” by not telling the doctors about the baby having fallen from the couch.
The jury retired to the decide on their verdict at 3:15.
Their choices are:
1. 1st degree murder,
2. Manslaughter, or
3. Negligent homicide.
4. Not guilty.
At 4:10, the jury sent word to Judge Pope that they wanted to listen to the tape recordings made of the family’s discussions, that were admitted as evidence in the trial.
The courtroom was cleared of the 60-70 spectators attending the trial, so the jury to be brought back in.
After the tapes were played, around 4:40, the jury returned to the jury room.
At 6 pm, after 2 hours, 45 minutes of deliberations (including 30 minutes of listening to tape recordings) the jury remains in the jury room deliberating.
At 6:10 pm, Thursday evening, the jury returned the verdict of not guilty on all charges against Jackey Bostian