Babies don't just go limp and die.
Angie Walker looks at her attorney during her trial at Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Monday, July 9, 2018.
And the only person who was caring for 7-month-old Levi Ashley when he went limp and died last year was Angie Walker.
A jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court deliberated just four hours Thursday before finding Walker, 41, of the 300 block of East Broadway guilty of murder, felonious assault, and endangering children for causing the death of her boyfriend's infant son last year. She was found not guilty on a more serious charge of aggravated murder.
Walker is to be sentenced July 19 by Judge Linda Jennings.
“Angie Walker purposefully shook and abused Levi, causing his death,” Jennifer Donovan, an assistant county prosecutor, told the jury in her closing argument. “You don't accidentally grab a 7-month-old around the head. There's nothing accidental about that.”
Oregon police and paramedics were called about 10:40 a.m. April 25, 2017, to a Waterfox Drive home where Walker and her boyfriend, Antonio Burkey, were staying at the time on a report of an unresponsive baby. The child was rushed to the hospital and died the next day at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center when life-support was removed.
Walker, who did not take the witness stand, told police in videotaped interviews shown to the jury that she was alone with the child that morning when he suddenly went limp. He had been healthy and fine before that, she said.
Charles McDonald, an assistant county prosecutor, told the jury the evidence showed Walker was lying.
Baby Levi's retinas were detached, he said, a condition that results exclusively from trauma. He argued that Walker shook the child with such force that he immediately went limp, was effectively brain dead before he ever got to the hospital.
“This case is about the eyes,” Mr. McDonald said. “It cannot be explained by attacking the medical. Only a human being could have done that, and only one human being was present.”
Defense attorney Lorin Zaner told the jury that while it's natural to want to blame someone for an infant's death, there was no evidence presented to prove that Walker inflicted fatal injuries to Baby Levi.
“The state is trying to convince you this was inflicted, intentional injury with no evidence of any of that happening,” he said. “It's just as logical, if not more logical, it's from infection.”
Mr. Zaner argued that Baby Levi had pneumonia, which could have led to sepsis. He attacked the autopsy performed by Dr. Jeffrey Hudson, a deputy Lucas County coroner, alleging Dr. Hudson did not follow protocol and filed a flawed and incomplete report.
“All the things he didn't do that he should have done — he's the guy, in a lot of respects he's the guy who's got to do it right. He's the guy who's got to look at everything. He's the guy who's got to document. ... His documentation was terrible,” Mr. Zaner said.
Dr. Hudson concluded that Baby Levi's death was a homicide caused by abusive head trauma. He and other medical experts testified that the symptoms he exhibited would have occurred immediately after that trauma occurred.
“Dr. Hudson confirmed what everyone already knew because babies just don't go limp,” Mr. McDonald said. “They don't. And he certainly didn't have sepsis.”
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