Jessica Breger Staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2, 2013
A jury deliberated approximately three hours Wednesday before finding a man guilty of killing his infant son.
Marin Clay Allison, 25, Finley, had been on trial since Monday for the May 2012 death of Ethan Allison, 14 months.
Allison was charged with first-degree murder by child abuse, and on Wednesday afternoon, he was found guilty of a lesser charge of second-degree murder.
Jurors recommended a sentence of 19-year prison sentence for Allison, who was booked into jail after the verdict.
He was charged last year after an investigation by Durant Police into the death of Ethan Allison, who died at Children’s Hospital from a traumatic brain injury.
According to a probable-cause affidavit by Lt. Chris Marcy, Allison, who lived in Durant at the time, said he became frustrated with his young son, who was wanting to play while Mr. Allison was ill.
Allison said he grabbed the boy by his clothes and that he slipped and then hit his head on a tile floor.
Allison then stayed up all night researching brain injuries and coma symptoms on the Internet at approximately 9 p.m.
He called for help at approximately 5:45 the following morning when the child stopped breathing, according to an affidavit.
During closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors said Allison changed his story multiple times and felt that this indicated he was hiding something, and this was not just an accident.
Prosecutors listed changes to Allison’s story to include who left the boy’s onesie unfastened, where he fell and what he hit his head on.
Prosecutors also suggested that the defendant’s demeanor showed guilt because while he seemed sorrowful, it did not seem that way prior.
“You didn’t see that kind of demeanor three weeks after,” said Assistant District Attorney Tim Webster. He goes on to suggest that “the defendant was more concerned with himself than Ethan.”
Webster explained that the defendant was ill and in the bathroom. He said that the defendant, in one version of his story, said that he did not want to go to the hospital because he did not want to have to use the bathroom there.
During the defense’s closing arguments, attorney Warren Gotcher said the criteria was not met for the charge of first-degree murder in which the prosecution was asking for.
He said that the act had to be willful and use unreasonable force which was defined as using force beyond that of normal discipline.
He said this did not apply to the situation because Allison was not disciplining his child merely trying to keep him in the bathroom so he did not hurt himself.
Gotcher said the sentence that should be explored was excusable homicide which covers the death by accident.
Addressing the concern about the defendant’s changes in his story, Gotcher said “his versions were all about the same initially.”
He said his client should have revealed more at the beginning but everyone makes mistakes in what they say.
Gotcher also said that the Internet searches merely confirmed his client’s thought that his baby was alright.
He said the story that his client read involved a similar condition to what Ethan was showing and the people in the story called 911 and were getting no help from doctors, but the baby was fine.
According to Gotcher, a search like this would confirm Allison’s thought that he did not need to take Ethan to the hospital.
When the jury was dismissed to deliberate, Gotcher called for a mistrial due to the removal of a spectator during closing arguments.
The spectator, the defendant’s father, was dismissed from the courtroom when District Judge Mark Campbell determined that he was showing too much reaction to closing arguments.
Gotcher said that the volume and attitude by the judge toward the defendant’s father could affect the way the jury views the defendant.
Campbell determined that the defendant himself had acted appropriately and the incident would not affect the jury’s verdict.
A mistrial was denied. After hearing closing arguments and having all questions answered, the jury decided on a verdict of second-degree murder with a recommended sentence of 19 years in prison.
Sentencing for Allison was tentatively set for November 8.