Jury continues deliberations for verdict in child’s death

A jury continued to deliberate late into the evening Monday deciding the fate of a man charged with killing a toddler almost three years ago.

A jury continued to deliberate late into the evening Monday deciding the fate of a man charged with killing a toddler almost three years ago.

Evan Caswell Gilmer, 33, of Red Deer is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 18-month-old Garth Leippi of Red Deer on Oct. 13, 2008.

The jury received instructions on the law from Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast before heading to the jury room around 3 p.m. on Monday.

Leippi died in a Calgary hospital when he was removed from life support after suffering a severe brain injury the previous early morning at a Red Deer apartment where he lived with his mother, Jennifer Gladue, and her boyfriend, Gilmer.

Leippi was rushed to Red Deer Regional Hospital about 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2008, after he was discovered by paramedics lying on the living room floor unconscious and not breathing.

Evidence indicated the boy suffered blunt force trauma to the back of his head, which caused his brain to swell and cut off the oxygen flow.

The 11-member jury heard evidence for three weeks in the trial, which saw evidence presented from several medical experts for the Crown and an American medical expert for the defence.

Bast told the jury in her 75 minutes of instructions they must decide the case based on evidence they heard.

“You must make your decision without sympathy, prejudice or fear,” Bast said.

“The burden of proof rests with the Crown and never shifts.”

“Use your every day common sense to decide if people knew what they are talking about.”

She said the case was circumstantial but she said under the law if the evidence is either direct or indirect they are equal.

“How much you rely on an expert’s evidence is entirely up to you,” the judge said.

Bast said to reach a second-degree murder conviction the jury must find that Gilmer had the state of mind to cause the death.

She also said they could convict him of the lesser but included offence of manslaughter.

The Crown’s theory is that Gilmer, who had little or no experience in child rearing, was frustrated over the loss of his own sleep and attempted to quiet the child when he arose at 4 a.m. to the crying child.

Bast said the Crown didn’t allege Gilmer meant to cause the death but that he acted in a manner that resulted in him taking a chance knowing that it could result in death.

Gilmer testified he tried to pick up the child but fell on him, putting his full body weight on his outstretched hand, which pushed into the child’s forehead while he lay on the floor.

The defence also alleges that the boy had suffered a skull fracture about two weeks or a month previous in a backward fall in the apartment, which weakened the back of his skull.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate

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