MOUNT VERNON — The sole defense witness in the Erica Colopy involuntary manslaughter case told the court on Thursday the injuries that caused the death of 4-year-old Donavon Poole were accidental.
Dr. Steven Guertin, medical director for the Sparrow Children’s Center at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich., stated he had reviewed the 9-1-1 call summary, emergency room records, police report and Nationwide Children’s Hospital records, as well as viewed photos of Donavon from the autopsy report.
Defense attorney James Giles asked Guertin, “What would be your opinion of this case if it was brought to your office?”
Guertin admitted he would consider it a “highly suspicious case considering there is a non-biological parent in the house, hearing of the fall from the stairs, as well as the death, and observing the photos of the injuries.”
“Would Donavon have died from that fall?” asked Giles.
“He could. But it would be rare,” said Guertin. “You would not expect it. You have to look at the specifics. When you hit a hard surface, there is the potential. In looking at the fall, it’s more important in what you hit at the end.”
In referring to retinal hemorrhaging, which Dr. Phillip Scribano pointed out earlier in the bench trial as being apparent in photos of Donavon’s eyes, Guertin stated, “In this case, you have generated an impact force hard enough to cause retinal hemorrhages. There is no single mechanism which causes these hemorrhages.”
“Are they a sign of significant shaking?” asked Giles.
“Yes, they can be,” said Guertin. “They can also be the result of falling, or a dramatic movement back and forth.