The Fort Scott Tribune: Anderson guilty of murder, child abuse

A jury found the defendant in a felony murder and child abuse case guilty on both charges late Thursday afternoon in Bourbon County District Court.

After returning from deliberations that lasted about two-and-a-half hours, Bourbon County District Judge Mark Ward read the verdicts issued by the jury, which found Anthony M. Anderson, for his involvement in the death of 6-month-old Aiden J. Osborn in April 2015, guilty on one count of first-degree felony murder and one count of abuse of a child.

Anderson, clad in civilian clothing and unrestrained per a defense motion Ward granted in April, stood as Ward read the verdicts. Ward polled each juror to confirm their verdicts, then adjudged Anderson to be guilty on the charges.

Ward said the verdict forms will be filed. He then dismissed jurors from their service.

Robert Myers, the defense attorney, told Ward he would submit a post-trial argument in writing.

Prosecutors in the case were Adam Zentner and Lee Davidson with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, and Bourbon County Attorney Justin Meeks.

Ward ordered a pre-sentence investigation report and revoked bond for Anderson, who had been held in the Southeast Kansas Regional Correctional Center on a $1 million bond since his May 5, 2015 arrest.

Anderson was remanded back to the SEKRCC to be held on no bond.

After a brief discussion with attorneys, Ward set sentencing for 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2.

Closing arguments

Attorneys in the case also presented closing arguments for the jury prior to the verdicts.

Zentner discussed a 24-hour timeline of the infant’s activities and referenced prior testimony in his closing statements. Zentner said the infant did not have injuries prior to the afternoon of April 26.

“There was no car crash. The baby had not fallen and hit his head the day before,” Zentner said.

According to testimony, the baby had been “behaving normally” in the several hours leading up to April 26, 2015. The baby’s mother, Keira Lamb, had testified the baby had been “happy” and “having the time of his life” when she had last seen the baby prior to going to work that day.

Zentner instructed jurors to look at a “23-minute window” the afternoon of April 26 when the baby was alone in the Broadway Street residence with Anderson.

Zentner said there was a problem with the defendant’s story as he originally told a police officer who had arrived on scene that Anderson had found the baby on the living room floor “crying.” Then, Anderson testified during the trial that the baby was “red in the face” and having breathing problems.

Zentner said in his arguments that Anderson was “frustrated” about various circumstances April 26 and had a short time to “make up a story” prior to emergency personnel arriving on scene.

“What happened in those 23 minutes?” Zentner asked the jury. “He (Anderson) wanted to make it look like an accident. These are massive injuries.”

Zentner also said according to previous testimony, Anderson’s interactions with the infant were “aggressive.”

Zentner said the defendant’s story “contradicts medical science.”

Given that the baby had not been in a car crash, there were only two options for the jury to consider, Zentner said.

“He had to be shaken or thrown against a soft object,” he said. “There were no cracks or skull fractures so it was probably not a hard object impact.”

“If the defendant’s story is true, there should be no ear bruising, but there is,” he said.

Zentner also referred to previous testimony given by doctors involved with the case.

“From what they saw, that kid was abused to death,” he said.

Zentner also encouraged jurors to “not think with their emotions,” but to “look at the facts and the evidence.”

In his closing arguments, Myers said because someone is “drug into a courtroom” and charged with a crime does not mean that person has committed a crime.

Myers said the state called witnesses who talked about “numbers and literature.”

“But that’s not evidence. That makes it an argument,” Myers said.

Myers encouraged jurors to not show “favoritism or sympathy,” but to look at the facts only, and to ensure the evidence proves “beyond a reasonable doubt” the defendant is guilty of the crimes.

“You can’t guess. You can’t speculate or fill in the blanks, or add information to testimony,” he said.

Myers said the state “alleges torturing” of the victim by the defendant.

“They have no clue,” he said. “They haven’t proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Myers also went through highlights of various testimony given during the trial. He said testimony was given by various experts “with different opinions.”

He also referenced prior testimony by Dr. Thomas Young, a forensic pathologist who referred to the infant’s injuries as “accidental.”

“What happened?” Myers asked.

Thursday testimony

Proceedings on Thursday also included testimony from two doctors — Dr. Thomas Young, a forensic pathologist with a private practice, Heartland Forensic Pathology LLC, and Dr. Michael Handler, a forensic neuropathologist who previously issued testimony on Tuesday.

Young, who was called by Myers to the stand as the state rested Wednesday, testified he is responsible for investigating deaths that involve “violence, suspicion of foul play” and cases with matters that are “not understood.”

Young said he had knowledge of the 911 recordings in the case, Fort Scott Police Department records, Mercy Hospital and Children’s Mercy Hospital records, an autopsy report done by Handler, as well as autopsy photos and other testimony related to the case.

Young testified the infant had a subdural hematoma on the right side of the head that was “pushing on the brain” and required surgery. The infant also had a left tibia fracture.

There was also discussion on the difference in adult and infant skulls. Young said adult skulls are “thicker” and the sections of the skull are all fused together, the opposite of an infant skull. An infant’s skull is also softer than an adult’s, due to a higher water content.

Young testified that the injuries sustained by the infant could have occurred from a fall from the couch, particularly if the child did what he referred to as a “header” off the couch, landing directly on top of the head.

“If the child hits the top of the head, there’s sufficient force in that and even to tear a bridging vein,” Young said.

Regarding surgery on the infant, Young said “doctors have to stop the blood, and the squeezing on the brain and blood vessels.” He said a shift on the brain from a hematoma is a “serious shift” that is “pushing the brain to one side.”

“Pressure through the brain, there’s less flow to the head,” Young said.

Read the original article here.

Posted in