CORTLAND, N.Y. — A forensic pathologist testified Thursday in the trial of Dorian Bohn he believed a two-year-old McGraw girl was murdered when her head was slammed against a wall and was not killed by a fall from a bunk bed.
Dr. James Terzian also testified in Cortland County Court he found a small amount of alcohol in Kassidy Dains’ system when he performed her autopsy, as well as Benadryl, and that it likely took the child more than an hour to die.
Terzian also noted the hair police officers found inside a 4-and-a-half-inch wall dent in the McGraw apartment Bohn shared with the girl and her mother was identified as Dains’ through DNA analysis.
Bohn, 29, is on trial for murder after Kassidy Dains died of a fatal head injury on April 19 while in Bohn’s care and after sustaining 50 injuries. Bohn was indicted on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, felonies, as well as endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
Dains’ autopsy revealed the two-year-old suffered a depressed skull fracture, bleeding around the brain and brain damage, among other injuries, Terzian said. The brain injury caused her brain to swell, putting pressure on the parts of the brain that control breathing, and causing her lungs to fill with fluid. Dains also suffered a severe blow to the abdomen that caused a tear to a membrane that holds the intestine in place, Terzian said. Fecal matter was found on the hard palate of her mouth and bloody stool in her diaper, he said.
“Kassidy’s head hit something very hard with a lot of force,” Terzian said. “I conclude that her head hit that wall very hard…I think that’s what killed her.”
Bohn told police Dains died after she fell from the top of her bunk bed in recorded interviews.
Terzian cited on the stand a scientific article that found less than one in 1 million children die a year in the U.S. from a fall of less than 10 feet. Dain’s bunk bed was about 5 feet six inches, according to crime scene photographs displayed in court.
“Gravity alone” is not enough for a child to sustain the depressed skull fracture Dains’ suffered during a fall of less than 10 feet, Terzian testified, citing other scientific articles.
“It’s just that they [children] don’t suffer that much trauma usually,” Terzian said. “This is a very severe blunt trauma to the head.”