Helping The Parents

IMMEDIATELY AFTER JOCELYNN'S DEATH:

Exhausted by sorrow, Jocelynn’s parents, Clayton and CJ Allison, spent the night after her passing in Anchorage at the home of friends. Her paternal grandparents returned to the valley 40 minutes away where they all lived. They decided to prepare the house for the parents’ return by moving the baby’s items out-of-sight, so that her parents could wait till they were ready to face them. In the process, they cleaned the toilet, of course, and unloaded the chair on the landing and moved it aside, so they could carry Jocelynn’s things to the closet under the stairs more easily. They also moved a large box that had been behind the couch near the top of the stairs, and a couple of others from the corners of the living room that were still not completely unpacked.

The next day CJ and her mother left Anchorage and returned to the house to let the police in to take pictures. They found that the chair that had been on the landing was a few feet away, in the entryway of the house, and that the large heavy file drawer and other items were no longer on it. However, they were easily able to find the strong indentations in the carpet that had been made by the heavily weighted chair. The lead investigating officer also observed the indentations and that they exactly matched the footprint of the chair when it was moved onto it. She took a picture with the now empty chair back in place.

  • Later when the police questioned the EMTs, the EMT supervisor, who had arrived on-scene slightly later than the others, volunteered to the police that he had observed a piece of furniture that he thought may have been involved in the accident on the landing of the stairs. He thought it was a wooden table or something.
  • During the second grand jury, a juror inquired about the presence of the chair in the photo. They were told by the state prosecutor that it was not relevant to the case.
  • Early in the trial, the lead investigating officer mentioned that she had seen the indentations in the carpet left by the chair. However, at that time the jury had no idea why the chair was important.
  • No mention is made of the chair in the autopsy or any of the reports of medical experts. It seems likely that none of them were told that the baby’s head hit a chair. The pediatric intensive care physician (PICU) at the hospital immediately jumped to the conclusion of abuse, and impatiently refused to accept or document Clayton’s account of the accident, nor information about Jocelynn’s medical history offered by her parents. Therefore, none of the analyses of the various expert witnesses that followed, on either side of the case, had the benefit of the knowledge that the baby’s head hit a chair when she fell.

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