Pathology Expert Witness Testifies In Shaken Baby Trial

Pathology expert witness Dr. Janice Ophoven testified Tuesday in the trial of Amy Dierks, the Sioux Falls day care provider accused of shaking a six-month-old child into a coma-like state in November 2007. In reviewing the Baby Henry Johnson case, she told jurors she doesn’t believe Dierks abused the child; rather Ophoven believes he had a stroke and seizures. The expert witness told the jury she reviewed Henry Johnson’s medical records and reports and believes the child showed preexisting symptoms and conditions before he was hospitalized. She went on to say he showed no signs of trauma or abuse.

“The child was having a stroke with signs and symptoms that appeared a week earlier,” Dr. Ophoven said. Prosecutors recalled Dr. Ed Mailloux to the stand, who disagreed with many of Dr. Ophoven’s statements and stood by Baby Henry’s head trauma diagnosis. The prosecution plans to call one more rebuttal witness Wednesday morning before closing statements and the case is turned over to the jury.

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