A McGraw man accused of murdering his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter in April did not immediately mention the girl was not breathing to 911 dispatchers and told a confused story about giving the child Benadryl to police at the scene, audio recordings played Wednesday in the first day of Dorian Bohn’s trial revealed.
Kassidy Dains died of a fatal head injury on April 19 while in Bohn’s care and after sustaining 50 injuries, according to both the prosecution and the defense.
Public Defender Keith Dayton argued to the jury in his opening statement Dain’s head injury occurred when she fell from the top bunk of her bed onto a hardwood floor; District Attorney Patrick Perfetti contended it occurred when Bohn slammed her head into a wall, leaving a dent in the wall and one of the girl’s blond hairs in the dent.
Dain’s other injuries were “..medically superficial wounds that did not cause her death..” and could have been sustained while the toddler was at her babysitter’s, Dayton told the jury.
“[This is] not an act of negligence, but child abuse,” Perfetti said in his opening statements. “Not a fall from a bed, but murder.”
An examination of Dains at Cortland Regional Medical Center revealed a severe depressed skull fracture and 50 injuries—including fractures, recent bruises and lacerations—that were inconsistent with a fall from a bunk bed and prompted a nurse to file a child abuse report, Perfetti told the jury. The criminal investigation also revealed Dains was bleeding from her rectum and had feces in her mouth, he said.
On the night of Dain’s death, her mother, Krystal Dains, called in sick for Bohn, who worked second-shift with her at Marietta Corporation, before heading to work herself, Perfetti said. Krystal Dains let her daughter stay at the couple’s home with Bohn instead of taking the child to her grandmother’s at Bohn’s insistence, he said.
“...Within six hours, Kassidy Dains was dead of a massive head injury,” Perfetti told the jury, and sustained “...fifty bruises, lacerations and abrasions on her body.”
Bohn sent a text message to Krystal Dains at work, saying, “Kassie fell off the top bunk SMH even after you told her not to LOL,” at 7:17 p.m., Perfetti told the jury. It took Bohn 90 minutes to call 911 after this text message, he said. During that time Kassidy Dains vomited, lost consciousness and had difficulty breathing, while Bohn played video games, watched television and drank vodka and beer, Perfetti said.
Kassidy Dains was no longer breathing when McGraw firefighters were called to the scene to administer medical aid, Perfetti said. “Despite their efforts, she could not be saved,” he said.
Dains’ death was “uniquely tragic,” “senseless,” and “avoidable,” Perfetti told the jury.
In his opening address to the jury, Dayton also spoke of the tragedy of the girl’s death, but emphasized it was an accident.
“All child deaths are tragic, but not all child deaths are criminal,” Dayton said.
“There is nothing we can do today, nothing we can achieve by this trial, to bring her back,” he told the jury. “And it happened on Dorian’s watch … he’s going to live with that for the rest of his life.”
Bohn cared for and treated Dain as if she was his own child, Dayton said.
“Dorian had no motive to hurt this little girl,” Dayton said. “He loved her. He would never intentionally hurt her.”
As the trial shifted to the testimony phase Wednesday morning, Perfetti first played Bohn’s 911 call, eliciting tears from onlookers in the gallery.
“I have a two-year-old here who fell off the top of her bunk,” Bohn told a dispatcher. “I gave her some medicine, but she’s knocked out.”
About thirty seconds into the recording, Bohn tells the dispatcher, “Um, she doesn’t seem to be breathing.”
In their testimony, McGraw Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Davis and Sgt. Paul Knapp of the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office both stated Dain’s skin was blue-tinged when they arrived and she did not respond to attempts to get her to breath. They also both noticed alcohol containers on the floor near the couch, they testified.
Members of the McGraw Fire Department arrived at Bohn’s 11 Elm Street home within about 3 minutes of receiving the call for medical help, Davis said. When Davis arrived, Bohn was attempting CPR, he said.
“It didn’t look good,” Davis said. “The child was blue.”
When Knapp arrived about 15 minutes later to assist other deputies on the scene, Dains was still receiving medical treatment, Knapp testified.
“She was very grayish-blue,” he said. “She looked like she hadn’t been breathing for quite some time.”
Bohn was crying and upset, Knapp said. His breath also had a strong smell of alcohol and he was impaired, Knapp testified.
Knapp made a recording of his conversation with Bohn which Perfetti played for the jury.
On it, Bohn tells Knapp he was playing video games and watching television when he heard a bang from Dain’s room and her cry. Bohn said he picked her up and gave her half a Benadryl for allergies. After bringing her out to the living room couch with him, Bohn said Dain fell asleep and wouldn’t wake up.
“She’s hurt herself plenty of times. I don’t know what happened,” Bohn said on the recording. “I tried to wake her up to put her to bed and she just wasn’t waking up.”
Knapp said Bohn’s statements didn’t make sense to him, especially since Bohn indicated he wasn’t sure if Dain had allergies.
“It was just like it was forced,” Knapp said of Bohn’s statements. “He wasn’t telling the story about what happened. It was all over the place.”
Dayton asked Knapp if it was unusual for someone in that situation to be emotional, and Knapp said, “No.”
Dayton also asked if he was a doctor or if he knew if doctors prescribe Benadryl to children. Knapp said he was not and did not know. He also testified that he knew that Benadryl makes a person “sleepy.”
“I just couldn’t get over why he would give his kid Benadryl, even if it was half a Benadryl, if he wasn’t sure she had allergies,” Knapp said.
Marked drowsiness is a common side-effect for both adult and children’s Benadryl, according to the National Institute of Health. The institute warns against using either drug to make a child sleepy. The medicines are used to relieve sneezing, runny and itchy noses, itchy, water eyes and itchy throats.
Today, jurors will hear from a paramedic who attempted to administer CPR to the child as well as sheriff’s deputies who responded to the scene.