Original content produced by The Medill Justice Project.
BATTLE CREEK, Mich.—On Aug. 6, 2002, in the hulking Calhoun County Justice Center, Dr. Brian C. Hunter took the witness stand in a case against a teenage mother accused of killing her daughter. What he was about to say carried weight because he was the doctor who performed the autopsy on the 11-week-old infant: “This was basically a healthy child,” he said.
Hunter testified Alicia Duff had been violently shaken to death—known as shaken-baby syndrome.Read the full story here.
An 18-year-old mother sits in a cramped room across the table from two investigators with children’s protective services. Her 11-week-old daughter, Alicia, lies in intensive care. They start asking the mother: What happened? Did you violently shake your daughter?
“During our entire interaction, she had a very flat affect; no emotion,” Robert W. Peck Jr., one of the investigators, testified at Tonia Miller’s murder trial about a year and a half later.
In an interview for this article, Miller says she gave off nothing—she wore a blank expression. But behind her emotionless wall, she says she was scared. She just wanted to see her daughter. She felt desperate, trapped.Read the full story here.