Jury finds man not guilty in ‘shaken baby’ homicide trial

A jury came back with a not guilty verdict in the trial of Miles Lee Ferguson, who was accused of killing his 5-week-old daughter.

“This case, from when I got the call, was in reference to what appear to be a shaken baby syndrome; therefore what I responded by assuming that the child had been shaken by somebody,”  state witness Karen Sams, of the state Department Social Services Office in Charleston, testified.

WCBD TV

South Carolina
November 19, 2009

CONWAY —  After nearly four hours of deliberations, a jury came back with a not guilty verdict in the trial of Miles Lee Ferguson 27 of Portsmouth , Ohio, who was accused of killing his 5-week-old daughter.

“This young man wasn’t guilty but he has lived a nightmare for these past three years and you can see the stress they have all been under is immeasurable and I’m just so happy for them because his family needs him and the last place in the world for him to be is in the penitentiary,“ said defense attorney Morgan Martin.

Ferguson, 27, was charged with homicide by child abuse in Mylee Grace Ferguson’s death.

Ferguson wouldn’t comment but kept repeating, “praise the Lord,“ as he hugged his wife, family and friends.

Ferguson cried heavily as he thanked the jury and court personnel minutes after the verdict was announced.

Dozens of supporters who have been lining up since the trial started Nov. 9 outside the Horry County Courthouse in Conway cheered as Ferguson walked outside Wednesday night.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments shortly after 5pm Wednesday.

Ferguson sat sobbing holding his wife’s hand as Martin told the jury about how his client “is not a violent man… look at him, he is a good boy, he loved that baby.“

Martin continued to say, “this isn’t an ‘I think he might done it, this isn’t a he probably done it this isn’t a sure don’t look good this is beyond each and every reasonable doubt and if there is a real possibility that (that) young man is not guilty then it’s your obligation to acquit him.”

“It makes sense that what he did, didn’t have to be a premeditated evil, it didn’t have to have a motive, but he snapped and it’s the sad truth, and it happens to people,“ said Fifteenth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Candice Lively.

Prosecutors also presented rebuttal witness Wednesday morning.
Shannon Karlayne Toole, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, took the stand where prosecutors asked her whether Ferguson ever mentioned or demonstrated that he shook his baby during his conversation with her.

Toole replied she doesn’t recall Ferguson ever did that.
Shortly after Toole’s testimony and during a short break, Ashlee Ferguson, the defendant’s wife, walked up to Toole and said, “You lied … you’re a liar.”
Lively made sure that the court, minus the presence of thee jury, was aware of the encounter.

“Your honor, I know there is a lot of tension in this case and emotions are very high, but we deserve to have a fair trial,” Lively said.

Toole went back on the stand and told 15th Circuit Court Judge Ben Culbertson about the incident prosecutors say made her feel intimidated by Ashlee Ferguson.

The state maintained that Ferguson shook Mylee to death.
“Why would a demonstration be important in the case, such as in a child abuse case?” Lively asked.

“This case, from when I got the call, was in reference to what appear to be a shaken baby syndrome; therefore what I responded by assuming that the child had been shaken by somebody,”  state witness Karen Sams, of the state Department Social Services Office in Charleston, testified.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.