Here is a summary of the first day of the first degree murder trial for the 2011 death of a Drew County infant.
An extimated 3 donen family members were present in the courtroom, for the day’s testimonies.
In the case, Jackey Bostian is charged with first degree murder and first degree battery against his 7 week old son.
Judge Sam Pope, after setting the panel’s seating order (by computer generated random numbers), questioned the potential jurors.
Approximately 15 panel members were dismissed after telling the judge that they were friends of family members, and had heard details of the case that may affect their ability to make an impartial decision in the case.
4 more potential jurors were dismissed, when they told the court they had existing opinions in the case, based on media reports on the case, before 10 am.
The jury selection process continued, as deputy prosecutor Frank Spain and defense council Sara Hartness questioned the group about issues and personal feelings that may come up in the case. 2 more people were then dismissed by Judge Pope.
At 11:20, everyone except 40 potential jurors were dismissed, as the court narrowed the group down to the 12 jurors and 2 alternates.
Opening statements began around 11:30, with Spain covering the timeline of the case, beginning on February 1, 2011, and the events that soon followed.
According to Spain, the 7 week old child had broken bones in the thigh, tibia, foot and collarbone.
Hartness addresses the jury, next, telling them about the child’s mother, Jessica Morris-Bostian’s reported anxiety issues and other details of the case.
Hartness also covered the time the baby spent in Arkansas Children’s Hospital from February 2-6, where the infant was treated for possible spinal meningitis.
A summary of the injuries, actions, and related phone calls ended the opening arguments, before court recessed for lunch at 12:40.
The prosecution called their first witness, Jessica Morris, when court reconvened at 1:40.
Jessica testified that she had gone to Walmart to get children’s Tylenol, but the earliest age dose available was for 3 months.
She then told the court that she called Dr. Shrum, who told her to take him to the emergency room.
When she got home, Jackey told her “something’s wrong.”
They first went to Drew Memorial, and were them sent back to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Jessica next told the court that Jackey now told her that he’d let Ridley fall off of the couch, before his first injuries were noticed.
They then drove to her parent’s hotel room, were Jessica’s mother used a tape recorder to record Jackey telling her that statement.
Jessica next testified that Jackey was told to give the Morris family his (house and vehicle) keys, and call his parents to come get him.
Between 2:30 – 3 pm, defense attorney Sara Hartness cross- examined Jessica, focusing mainly on text messages between she and her mom, and about a “bouncy chair” that was reportedly bought by the Morris family for the infant.
The court recessed at 3:15.
When court resumed, Jessica testified that the Morris family had hired an attorney (based on the assumption that the Arkansas Children’s Hospital may have been at fault with some of Ridley’s medical issues). They also started recording conversations.
When the Arkansas State Police contacted the Morris family, they were referred to their lawyer.
Further testimony then covered cell phone call logs, based around the 4 am Walmart trip. When Jessica returned home from Walmart, she says Jackie said “something was wrong” “with Ridley.” Jessica went over to them, and said, “Ridley was limp. I called 911, and we began doing CPR.
Other testimony include medical record notes stating that it had been said that Jackie and Jessica were calm and patient parents; Jackie even more than Jessica.
Jessica then testified that during the trip to Little Rock, “Jackie got very violent in the car.” A 2 minute recorded conversation was played for the court, where the Morris family had recorded Jackie telling them about Ridley falling off of the couch (before his first injuries).
Around 4:00, during the prosecution’s questioning, Jessica commented that this is when she began to change her opinion about Jackie. Ms. Hartness then we cross-examined Jessica and it was brought out that the infant’s broken leg was believed to have been caused by an IV placed into the bone marrow on the ambulance trip.
Around 4:30, the prosecution played a CD of a converstion recorded at ACH, with family members discussing what a doctor had tld them. They described him talking about the child’s had bleeding and swelling on the brain. Basically, they said someone had shook him, and that the injuries were caused by trauma that had happened in the last 24 hours. “He said we needed to look elsewhere.” “They had said it was viral meningitis a week ago, now they say that he didn’t have viral meningitis.”
It seems through testimony, and by documents referred to in Tuesday’s trial, that Jackie and Jessica trusted each other more, until that second trip to ACH.
Patty Morris, Jessica’s mom was asked about several topics, invcluding Ridley’s condition on Feb. 1. Ms. Morris said, “When I picked up Ridley’s foot to changed him, he screamed.” She responded that she didn’t know anything was wrong, but also added, “I didn’t know that his little foot had been broken.”
Tuesday’s trial day came to an end at 5:20.