PERRY -- A key prosecution witness testified Tuesday in the murder trial of a Centerville father accused of so violently shaking his 6-week-old daughter that the infant died of “non-accidental head trauma.”
Andre S. Martin, 30, is accused of malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children, aggravated battery and aggravated assault in the Nov. 16, 2009, incident.
The prosecution’s case is built on the premise that the death of Kindall Martin was the result of shaken baby syndrome, also known as inflicted or non-accidental head trauma, according to testimony.
The defense contends the infant died of natural causes and police and medical professionals rushed to judgment because Andre Martin told authorities he had shaken the baby in an attempt to revive her before performing CPR.
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Dr. Umesh Narsinghani, who treated the infant at The Children’s Hospital at The Medical Center of Central Georgia, testified the baby was eventually declared brain dead after attempts to save her were exhausted.
Narsinghani took jurors through a barrage of diagnostic lab work, medical tests, treatments and a chest X-ray done at The Children’s Hospital in an attempt to help the infant.
He also walked jurors through medical terms and diagnostic reports and drew a diagram on a whiteboard of the infant’s brain, which he said experienced extensive bleeding and swelling.
In the end, medical personnel ruled out infection, pre-existing medical conditions, accidental trauma and other possibilities for the life-threatening problems the baby was experiencing, Narsinghani testified. The only possibility left was non-accidental head trauma, he said.
Bernadette C. Crucilla, a Macon attorney representing Martin, raised questions about possible other conclusions based on the infant having been diagnosed with a viral infection Oct. 31, 2009.
Narsinghani testified the infection was basically a minor cold and an X-ray showed no evidence of pneumonia.
Crucilla also questioned Narsinghani about other possible conclusions that could be drawn from the lab work pointing to a natural cause of death. But Narsinghani testified medical personnel looked at the overall picture in diagnosing the infant in an attempt to save her life.
Crucilla asked Narsinghani if he was aware the autopsy report found evidence of pneumonia and congestion in the infant’s lungs. He replied that he was.
However, the cause of death listed in the autopsy was “cerebral trauma” and the manner of death was ruled a homicide, Julia C. Bowen, an assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, previously told jurors.
Medical experts hired by the defense concluded the child died from DIC, or disseminated intravascular coagulation, which is a blood clotting problem, Crucilla previously told jurors.
Dr. John Shivdat, who treated the infant at Houston Medical Center before the child was taken to The Children’s Hospital, testified a chest X-ray of the child showed no signs of pneumonia or other respiratory infection.
Both Shivdat and Narsinghani told jurors they also relied on information from Martin and emergency workers who treated the infant.
According to testimony, Martin had placed the baby in a playpen where she slept next to the parents’ bed in the master bedroom and had gone into the living room to work at his computer. He heard the baby cry, found her on her belly, she vomited, he shook her a little bit, started cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called 911.
Narsinghani testified babies typically cannot rollover from back to belly until they’re 2 to 3 months old. But he also testified it was possible for a 6-week-old to do so.
Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday before Houston County Superior Court Judge Katherine K. Lumsden.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.