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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

[FL] Jury finds Avon Police Officer Parker did murder his girlfriend's toddler, Kaedyn Short

..."Kaedyn Short could not be here. She can not take the stand and tell you what [Former Avon Park police officer James] Parker did to her that night. But she has spoken to you. She should have been the safest little girl in the world. Her mama was a nurse and her mama's boyfriend was a police officer. Nothing should have happened to that little girl"...

Parker was sentenced immediately after the trial to life without parole on the 1st degree murder charge and to 30 years on the aggravated child abuse charge.

... Did you ever hear Mr. Parker threaten one of the three children he was babysitting, Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin asked? "Yes," replied William Ward, who worked with Parker at the Avon Park Police Department. "When she was asleep." Parker looked at Kaedyn and said, "I beat the s--- out of you," Ward testified. "And he looked up at me and smiled"... 

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Kaedyn died when she was taken off of life support, on May 27 2009.

Excerpts from news September 12th through September 26th, 2012:

JAMES HILTON PARKER III TRIAL
Highlands Today
By Gary Pinnell
Published: September 12, 2012
[Excerpts] The first witness set the tone and context for James Hilton Parker's murder trial. Did you ever hear Mr. Parker threaten one of the three children he was babysitting, Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin asked? "Yes," replied William Ward, who worked with Parker at the Avon Park Police Department. "When she was asleep." Parker looked at Kaedyn and said, "I beat the s--- out of you," Ward testified. "And he looked up at me and smiled"... Parker, now 36, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. Houchin said Kaedyn, the daughter of Jennifer Short, had so many skull fractures they couldn't be counted when she died in May 2009... Short, a nurse who lived with Parker until they were arrested, was also charged with two felonies: neglect of a child with great bodily harm, and failure to report child abuse within the home... Asked to describe Kaedyn's nature, Short said the toddler was sweet and loving and liked to be held... She didn't want to leave her children with Parker after arguing on the night of March 29, 2009, when she went to work at 7 p.m. at Highlands Regional Medical Center. She unsuccessfully called at least three potential babysitters... Parker didn't want to go to hospital, and Short had to insist... Finally, Parker drove Short and Kaedyn to Highlands Regional, and Short screamed for help. "They got her into the ER and started working on her," Short's voice choked. Afterward, did Short ask Parker what happened? "He had two versions of that," Short said. Kaedyn fell over a pile of laundry and hit her head. She held her breath until she stopped breathing. And then a third version, that Kaedyn fell from the top of a bunk bed, and a fourth, that she stumbled on the carpet and hit her head on the laptop... "There was a lot of bleeding," Houchin said. "The brain was swelling. She had at least two strokes. The brain is in an enclosed container, and it was compressing the brain stem." Surgeons had to remove a portion of the skull plate and a portion of the baby's brain. Eventually, Kaedyn was moved to a hospice. She never regained consciousness, and Short decided after six weeks to disconnect life support. Parker could not explain why Kaedyn had so many skull fractures, blackened "raccoon eyes" and significant chest bruises, Houchin contended... [Full article here]

PARKER TRIAL: DOCTORS DESCRIBE TODDLER'S MEDICAL CONDITION
Highlands Today
By Pallavi Agarwal
Published: September 13, 2012
[Excerpts] Two physicians who treated 20-month-old Kaedyn Short for severe brain injuries in March 2009 testified Thursday that she was unresponsive and very close to brain death when they attended to her... The 11-woman, three-man jury heard testimony from three medical practitioners involved in the case... "The prognosis after the surgery was very poor. Three-quarters of her brain was dead and she was likely to be vegetative." [Full article here]

PARKER TRIAL: DOCTOR SAYS KAEDYN'S INJURY NOT FROM FALL
NewsSun.com
By Samantha Gholar
Sunday, September 16, 2012
[Excerpts] A handful of witnesses took the stand Friday during the third day of former Avon Park police officer James Parker's murder trial including two medical doctors and a local detective... "Doctor, in regard to the fractures in the skull, was there more than one?"  [Assistant State Attorney Steve]Houchin asked. "It was a comminuted fracture. In other words there were multiple pieces of the fracture. It was a multiple fragment fracture," [Pediatric radiologist Ronald] Glass said. Glass stated that the fractures all appeared to have occurred around the same time due to the manner of the swelling. Glass also stated that the fractures were all acute fractures, meaning the injuries were from a one-time occurrence, not multiple or repeated stress of the bone. "In your opinion, are these the type of fracture that a small child will get if they simply fall on the floor?" Houchin asked. "No," Glass replied. "What about fall and hit their head on a laptop computer?" "No." "What about falling off a bunk bed? "No." "And why not?" asked Houchin. "Skull fractures are rare. Children play and fall all of the time. It's very rare that you see fractures," Glass stated... [Full article here]

PARKER TRIAL: DOCTOR SAYS KAEDYN'S INJURY NOT FROM FALL
NewsSun.com
By Samantha Gholar
Sunday, September 16, 2012
[Excerpts] A handful of witnesses took the stand Friday during the third day of former Avon Park police officer James Parker's murder trial including two medical doctors and a local detective. Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin opened the floodgates on the graphic details of the death investigation of 20-month-old Kaedyn Short, which began on March 28, 2009. Short was the daughter of Parker's live-in girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Short... Parker, 36, is now being tried for first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse... According to Parker's deposition taken the morning after the incident, Kaedyn was a "clumsy kid"... [Kaedyn] Short was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center and was quickly flown to All Children's' Hospital in St. Petersburg due to multiple skull fractures and brain injuries... Three exhibits, two audio and one video, were presented to the jury, which is made up of three men and 11 women. The first audio was an unofficial recording of [Highlands County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Unit Detective Tyrone] Tyson's discussion with Parker during the early hours of March 29, 2009... Throughout the recording, Parker stated that Kaedyn fell down numerous times after being woken up to have her diaper changed... [Full article here]

PARKER DEFENSE REFUTES CLAIMS SHORT'S INJURIES WERE NOT CAUSE BY FALL
NewsSun.com
By Samantha Gholar
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
[Excerpts] Defense attorney Howardene Garrett brought a couple of witnesses to the stand during James Parker's trial Tuesday morning that built up their theory about the cause of death of 20-month-old Kaedyn Short in 2009... Garrett introduced Dr. Edward Willey, a former medical examiner who currently works as a medical doctor and consultant. Willey testified that he did not agree with All Children's Hospital pathologist Dr. Hector Monforte's medical report, which was revealed to jurors on Friday... The doctor also disagreed with Dr. Ronald Glass's testimony Friday that Short's skull fractures were acute. Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin cross examined Willey, asking for a number of clarifications to Willey's testimony... "You have not ever seen injuries such as this to a child's head from household falls?" Houchin asked. "I'm not sure I've seen anything as extensive as this from a household fall. But I have seen falls from upper bunks that are almost as severe," Willey said... Following Willey, the defense team brought Dr. William Lee to the stand. Lee is a professor of biomechanical engineering and medicine at University of South Florida. He works in a number of areas, and is an expert in injury biomechanics and accident reconstruction... Lee could not, however, give his opinion as to whether such a fall could cause such severe injuries to Short and cause death... [Full article here]

PARKER SENTENCED TO LIFE
Highlands Today
By Gary Pinnell
Published: September 20, 2012
[Excerpts] Jurors faced one inescapable conclusion in the trial of James Parker. The former Avon Park police officer, 36, was home with 22-month-old Kaedyn Short. Only his 5-year-old daughter and his girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter were present. And the toddler died of multiple head concussions... It took the jury six hours to determine Wednesday night that Parker was guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. Parker was sentenced on the spot by retired Circuit Court Judge Dennis Maloney to life without parole on the murder charge, and 30 years to be served concurrently on the child abuse charge... The defense was unable to get around the X-rays of Kaedyn's skull, Houchin said Thursday. They showed multiple, separate fractures. One was so severe, it crushed the child's skull. "They were all on that night," Houchin said. She would not have survived any of the fractures shown in the X-rays if they had come days or weeks earlier. Parker's friend William Ward testified that Parker had once said "I beat the s--- out of you" to the little girl in Ward's presence. "He admitted he was there alone with her, and it wasn't an accident," Houchin said. "There were multiple blows." When Parker was called to the stand by the defense, he denied that he struck the girl, but ultimately, the jury believed the prosecutor's statements, evidence and witnesses... [Full article here]

PARKER GUILTY OF BOTH CHARGES
NewsSun.com
By Samantha Gholar
Friday, September 21, 2012
[Excerpts] Former Avon Park police officer James Parker III was found guilty of first degree murder and aggravated child abuse on Wednesday. Parker was sentenced to 30 years on each count, the sentences to run concurrently. After five hours of deliberation, the jury decided that Parker's actions on March 28, 2009 caused the multiple skull fractures that resulted in the death of 20-month-old Kaedyn Short. Kaedyn died on May 27 of that year after being taken off life support. Before the jury got the case on Wednesday, Parker, 36, spoke to jurors and the full courtroom about his account of what happened to Kaedyn, the daughter of his former live-in girlfriend Jennifer Short. Parker had stated numerous times during interrogations and interviews that Kaedyn was a "clumsy" child. The night of the incident, Short left Parker alone with Kaedyn and the two other girls in their home... The couple had had an argument... "Mr. Parker, you think Kaedyn tripped and fell, but you didn't see that... And you didn't see the second fall? You didn't hear any glass breaking or anything like that?" "No, sir." "So Kaedyn was walking back to her bed, after you changed her diaper, and she fell down?" "Yes," Parker replied. "I heard a fall, but it wasn't a typical thump on the carpet. It was a fall where she might have hit something"... Houchin accused Parker of giving "varying accounts" of the incident. Other witnesses, including Jennifer Short and Highlands County Sheriff's Office detective Tyrone Tyson, also stated that Parker's account had different variables to it... Parker testified that he did not call an ambulance, 911 or take Kaedyn to the emergency room even though she was going limp and slipping into unconsciousness as he cradled her in the chair after exiting the bathroom with the toddler. "Had I seen something different I would have called 911. If I thought her condition was an emergency, I would have," Parker said. Jennifer Short arrived a few minutes after Parker called her home. According to Short's testimony Kaedyn was "unconscious, limp and pale." "She turned the lights on in the house when she (Jennifer) came in so she saw something differently than what I saw," Parker explained. "So you're telling us that you hadn't even turned the lights on to look at Kaedyn to see what her condition was?" Houchin asked. Parker stated that he sat with the child in his arms and examined her in the light from the television. "I didn't feel it was an emergency. I didn't feel it was anything out of the ordinary," Parker said... During his closing statement, Houchin said, "Kaedyn Short could not be here. She can not take the stand and tell you what Parker did to her that night. But she has spoken to you. She should have been the safest little girl in the world. Her mama was a nurse and her mama's boyfriend was a police officer. Nothing should have happened to that little girl." Garrett closed her case with these words: "Nothing will ever be the same for anyone. Even if your verdict is not guilty, his life will never be the same. It is a tragedy for everyone. We know that he loves and is proud of Kaedyn. He said that to your faces. The prosecution has brought drama to this courtroom. It is to distract you from looking at the law. I ask you to look at the evidence and what it proves and does not prove." Nearly 10 doctors and expert witnesses testified during the trial to give details, some gruesome and hard to interpret, of what they believed to have caused the injuries that lead to Kaedyn's death. Judge Dennis Maloney reminded the three-man, nine-woman jury to do their duty when making the verdict. Jennifer Short, 28, was indicted in June of 2009 for not reporting child abuse, and failure to secure medical services/ failure to protect a child from child abuse. Her trial is scheduled for later in the year. [Full article here]

PARKER'S ATTORNEYS ARE APPEALING: Former cop was convicted Wednesday in child’s death
Highlands Today
By Gary Pinnell
September 22, 2012
[Excerpts] The public defender's office is already preparing the paperwork for the appeal of James Parker III, convicted Wednesday in the murder of 22-month-old Kaedyn Short. Parker, 36, a former Avon Park police officer, was driven Friday morning to the Department of Corrections' Central Florida Reception Center in Orlando, said Major David Paeplow at Highlands County Jail. Parker's attorney, Howardene Garrett, said other attorneys in the 10th Circuit Public Defenders Office will handle the appeal... The three-judge appeals panel will decide if sufficient evidence existed to convict Parker, but it won't reweigh that evidence, Garrett said. Instead, appeals are based on judicial errors that may have occurred, which could win Parker a new trial. Parker was sentenced immediately after the trial to life without parole on the murder charge and 30 years on the child abuse charge... [Full article here]

FREEDOM EFFORTS RENEWED
Highlands Today
By Marc Valero
September 26, 2012
[Excerpts] The recent murder conviction of former Avon Park Police Officer James Parker has prompted a renewed effort to free Michael Diaz, who is serving five years in prison for battery on a law enforcement officer. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Civil Rights Commissioner Victor Valdes told a gathering Monday afternoon that Parker accused Diaz of attacking him, which led to Diaz's five-year prison sentence. Parker's employment records show several problems against him, Valdes noted. "But the chief didn't pay attention to us," Valdez said. Just a few months later Parker killed a 20-month-old child... "We hope now that Sheriff (Susan) Benton and the state attorney will review the Diaz case in order to find what we are denouncing — police brutality against a Hispanic family"... An Avon Park Police report states that Parker, who was off duty, said that Diaz and his sister were involved in a domestic dispute. Parker attempted to intervene when Diaz struck him several times in back of the head. Diaz was sentenced Feb. 4, 2009, to five years in prison after pleading "no contest"... Parker was arrested March 29, 2009, after being charged with aggravated child abuse of the 20-month-old baby girl of his live-in girlfriend. After his arrest in 2009, Highlands Today checked Parker's personnel file, which showed he had five commendations as well as four disciplinary notices. On July 7, 2008, Parker was suspended without pay for two days when he was found to be incompetent or inefficient in the performance of his duties. There were problems reported regarding evidence collected on 19 different criminal cases dating back to April of 2008, a disciplinary notice stated. [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder conviction toddler children child abuse florida state politics false imprisonment framed coverup]

1 comment:

  1. JENIFER SHORT SENTENCED
    Highlands Today
    Gary Pinnell
    Published: November 27, 2012
    [Excerpts] Jenifer Short pleaded no contest Monday to failure to report child abuse, a third-degree felony. It was the final legal action in a murder case that left her 22-month-daughter, Kaedyn, dead of massive brain injuries. Short was sentenced to five years probation, plus fines and court costs, by Circuit Court Judge Angela Cowden... As a nurse, Short was aware that Kaedyn kept sustaining non-life-threatening injuries, [Assistant State Attorney Steve] Houchin said... Short testified to the grand jury that Parker, then an Avon Park police officer, always had an explanation for how or why the toddler was injured... Richard Pipkin, Short's original attorney, appeared beside her. He told Judge Cowden that he has been a friend to Short since she was 2 years old, that she was a visitor to his home many times. Pipkin, now retired, said he heard Short "beat herself up," many times, saying "I should have known. I should have known."... Afterward, did Short ask Parker what happened? "He had two versions of that," Short said. Kaedyn fell over a pile of laundry and hit her head. She held her breath until she stopped breathing. And then a third version, that Kaedyn fell from the top of a bunk bed, and a fourth, that she stumbled on the carpet and hit her head on the laptop... While changing her diaper, Parker also told investigators, he "popped her on the butt'" twice and she fell...http://highlandstoday.com/hi/local-news/jenifer-short-sentenced-576757

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