Shaken Baby Syndrome

9 Cases

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AZ - Maricopa - Shannon & Tony Whittle 1998

CA - Los Angeles - Jose Salazar 1996

FL - Orange - Alan Yurko 1997

PA - Delaware - Ronald Lewis 1998

TN - Coffee - Andy Houser 2003

TN - Davidson - Russell Maze 1999

WI - Dane - Audrey Edmunds 1995

England - Kevin Callan 1991

Australia (VIC) - Tomas Klamo 2005




Date of Alleged Crime


Maricopa County, AZ Shannon & Tony Whittle 1998
Shannon and Tony Whittle were convicting of abusing and “shaking” their quadruplet babies, but the babies, who each would fit into an adult hand when born, have medical problems and show symptoms of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a genetic disorder characterized by bones that break easily with little or no apparent cause.  The two were sentenced to 172.5 and 5 years respectively.  (AZ Quads)  [5/05]


Los Angeles County, CA Jose Salazar Nov 18, 1996
Jose A. Salazar was convicted of murdering Adriana Krygoski, an infant girl, by shaking her to death.  Salazar's conviction was due largely to the testimony of deputy coroner James Ribe.  In 1999, veteran prosecutor Dinko Bozanich broke the “code of silence” in the DA's office and exposed the fact that Ribe had given false and misleading testimony in a number of baby death cases, making innocent deaths appear to be the result of sexual abuse or violence.  Salazar's conviction was vacated in Aug. 2003 based on the prosecution's withholding the deputy coroner's mistakes, altered findings, and changed testimony in other homicide cases.  (LA Weekly) (People v. Salazar)  [12/05]


Orange County, FL Alan Yurko Nov 24, 1997
Alan Yurko's 10-week-old son, Alan Jr., was killed by an adverse reaction to a vaccination and by subsequent iatrogenic complications in the hospital.  Medical conditions mimic shaken-baby syndrome and Yurko was convicted of his son's murder and aggravated child abuse.  The medical examiner who testified at his trial did not check child's medical history and issued an autopsy report that was riddled with mistakes.  He later admitted these mistakes in court.  In 2004, following a four-day evidentiary hearing, Yurko's first degree murder conviction was overturned.  That same day he pled no contest to the manslaughter death of his son and was sentenced to time served.  (Free Yurko) (Orlando Weekly) (JD23)  [11/05]


Delaware County, PA Ronald Lewis Mar 2, 1998 (Chester)

Ronald Winston Lewis was convicted of murdering his 5-month old son, Shirron Lewis, by shaking him.  Shirron had been born premature and required a breathing monitor and as many as 10 medications to survive.  Lewis and Shirron's mother, Jackie Allen, had already lost another child, Darius Lewis, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when he was nine days old.  Darius was born with a heart defect.  Shirron reportedly had seizures after he was born and Allen wondered if the hospital released him too soon.  Lewis is the father of at least nine children.

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Coffee County, TN Andy Houser June 3, 2003

Andy Houser's son Ethan died suddenly while in his care.  After the medical examiner, Dr. John Gerber, ruled that that Ethan died of “shaken baby syndrome,” police arrested Houser for Ethan's murder.  Besides the police, Houser's in-laws and wife soon believed he was guilty.  Houser's first child was born with a chromosome disorder and a hole in his heart, and died days after birth.  His wife became pregnant again, but miscarried in the first trimester.  Ethan, Houser's next child, appeared healthy for the first 9 weeks of his life.  He then had three bouts of projectile vomiting, after which doctors could find nothing wrong with him.  While in Houser's care, Ethan then stopped breathing.  Houser resuscitated him using CPR, but Ethan stopped breathing again while Houser was driving him to the hospital.  The hospital declared Ethan dead.

Houser's trial was delayed because the medical examiner died.  The prosecution needed time for an assistant to examine the autopsy findings so that a witness could present medical testimony.  In the meantime, Houser's defense found a defense expert, Dr. Ronald Uscinski, who was a skeptic of shaken baby syndrome and had testified in numerous shaken baby trials.  Uscinski found nothing to indicate that Ethan was shaken.  Instead he found that Ethan had suffered a series of strokes over time including possibly prior to birth, and that he had died from these.  The medical examiner's assistant, Dr. Thomas Deering, then had second thoughts on the original autopsy findings and subsequently agreed with Uscinski.  Deering then issued an amended autopsy report and the charges against Houser were dropped.  (Tennessean)  [3/07]


Davidson County, TN Russell Maze May 3, 1999
Russell Maze's 5-week-old child, Alex, suffered internal head bleeding on May 3, 1999 consistent with “Shaken Baby Syndrome.”  Alex died 18 months later in Oct. 2000.  Maze was convicted of Alex's death and sentenced to 51 years in prison.  Recent biomechanical studies have shown “Shaken Baby Syndrome” to be a largely imaginary diagnosis as it is almost impossible for an adult to shake a baby hard enough to cause brain injury.  Alex had been born underweight and 6 weeks premature.  (  [3/07]


Dane County, WI Audrey Edmunds Oct 16, 1995
Audrey Edmunds, a day care provider, was convicted of killing 7-month-old Natalie Beard, who died allegedly from “shaken baby syndrome.”  Dr. Robert Huntington, the forensic pathologist who testified against her in 1996, “now unequivocally rejects his prior opinion and its implications and will testify to that effect,” according to an appellate brief.  New studies show that “shaken baby syndrome,” as previously understood, does not exist.  The studies show that if infants could be shaken hard enough to be injured or killed, they would have severe injuries to their necks injuries Natalie Beard did not have.  Hearings on the matter are scheduled in Jan. and Feb. 2007.  (TruthInJustice)  (Jan. Hearings)  [3/07]


England (Manchester CC) Kevin Callan Apr 15, 1991
“Kevin Callan was wrongly convicted of murder in 1991 of shaking to death his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter, Amanda Allman, based on the testimony of two prosecution experts. ... Callan was sentenced to life in prison.  He became an expert in neurology and his knowledge helped prove that his daughter, who had cerebral palsy, died from the after-effects of brain damage caused by an earlier fall. ... Callan spent four years prison before the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction on April 6, 1995, based on the new medical evidence about the girl's cause of death.  The charges were dismissed and Callan was released.  Callan wrote a [1997] book about his experience [entitled Kevin Callan's Story.]  .... Callan died [in] 2003 at the age of 45.  Callan's sister and supporter during his ordeal, Janice Davies, helped to set-up the organisation ‘Innocent,’ to support Kevin and other wrongly convicted prisoners and their families in the United Kingdom.  ‘Innocent's’ website is,” – FJDB  (Innocent)


Australia (VIC) Tomas Klamo July 2005
Tomas Klamo was convicted of manslaughter in the alleged shaking death of his four-week-old son, Izaiah.  Klamo admitted to having shaken Izaiah a little harder than normal a week or two before his death.  Izaiah subsequently died of a brain hemorrhage.  At trial the crown's medical expert was unable to say what caused the hemorrhage, but said he did not believe it was caused by shaking as Izaiah had no other injuries consistent with shaking.  Klamo was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment.  On appeal in 2008, the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal found the evidence against Klamo was insufficient to convict.  It quashed his conviction and ordered his acquittal.  (R v. Klamo) (Herald Sun)  [11/09]