Death of young child was not accidental, experts testify during baby sitter's trial
Published: September 6, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - The death of "Baby Jameson" likely was no accident, according to medical experts who testified in V.I. Superior Court on Thursday.
Both the prosecution and defense grilled medical experts about an autopsy conducted on Jameson Beauvoir, a 4-month-old infant who died Feb. 10, 2012, while under the watch of his baby sitter.
Attorneys from both sides also asked questions of Rochelle Blyden, the defendant, who took the stand Thursday to answer questions about what happened the day that Beauvoir died.
Blyden, a 42-year-old former Human Services Department worker from Anna's Retreat, is being charged with, among other charges, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated child neglect, child abuse, third-degree assault, and using a dangerous weapon during a crime of violence.
"I'm a God-fearing person," Blyden said during her testimony in court on Thursday. "I don't abuse kids."
The autopsy, conducted by territorial Medical Examiner Francisco Landron, found that the baby had died from blunt force trauma, likely caused by impact from a dull object. The impact caused a two-inch skull fracture and brain swelling, Landron said during his testimony in court Thursday.
The autopsy was conducted several days after Beauvoir's death. On the day that paramedics brought him in, a preliminary medical examination revealed no apparent injury besides damage to his rectum, according to testimony from V.I. police Detective Dwight Griffith, who is the lead investigator for the case.
Police conducted a sexual assault test, which included a semen test and bloodwork, but the test indicated that the damage to Beauvoir's rectum was not from a sexual assault.
Until the autopsy, however, police had no idea that Beauvoir had sustained an injury to his head.
"I was kind of honestly bamboozled," Griffith said in court on Thursday. "What happened?"
Neither the prosecution nor the defense made any conclusions as to what was used to cause any of Beauvoir's injuries, specifically the fatal one to his head. Still, both sides asked questions of the medical experts about what would happen if a 4-month-old baby came into contact with a wall, a floor or a glass bottle.
According to the medical experts called, Beauvoir most likely came into contact with a flat or round object that had been forcefully taken to Beauvoir's head. They did not, however, conclude what precisely the object was.
Neither Alexander nor Landron found evidence to support that the cause of death could have been related to the baby falling, being shaken or bumped.
They agreed that a 4-month-old baby's head could more easily be damaged, along with its brain, because the skull is not fully developed at that age, and its brain is softer.
Blyden's own testimony followed that of the medical experts, and she tried to explain the sequence of events the day that Beauvoir died, beginning with picking him up from his mother, Marie Beauvoir, at about 7:30 a.m.
Jameson Beauvoir had no abnormal behavior that day when Blyden came to pick him up, though he did seem a little bit sluggish, she said.
Exactly when Jameson Beauvoir died still was unclear in court, though paramedics responded to a 911 call about the baby at about 4:48 p.m. the day that Beauvoir died.
Blyden said that the baby had not been drinking his formula throughout the day, and she only fed him once, and only changed his diaper once during the day.
It was not until about 4 p.m. that she noticed he had become unresponsive and was having difficulty breathing and beginning to vomit formula, she said.
All of the symptoms she described are common symptoms of suffering blunt force trauma, medical experts said on Thursday. They noted that the symptoms likely would occur no more than a few hours after the trauma.
"I was so hysterical," said Blyden, noting that she had been the only one watching Beauvoir.
By the time, the baby reached the hospital he had neither a breath nor a heartbeat.
"It turned out, it was pretty bad, so medicine probably couldn't have helped," Alexander said.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email email@example.com.