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Here are the current Media Reports about the Trial

April 2, 2003 Report
April 3, 2003 Report
April 4,2003 Report
April 5-6, 2003 Report
April 7, 2003 Report

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Rowden acquitted on all charges in baby’s death
KDN Staff

A Ketchikan Superior Court jury found 17-year-old Josh Rowden innocent of all charges Tuesday in connection with the April 27, 2002, death of his girlfriend’s baby, 7-week-old Adrian Fackrell. The verdict followed six hours of deliberation.

Rowden, who has been in custody for nearly a year, became emotional as jury foreman Mary Lou Friesen read the verdict forms one by one, pronouncing him innocent of first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault.

“He should have never been charged,” Barbara Kissner, Crocker’s co-counsel, said after the hearing.

Rowden also reacted outside the courtroom.

“I loved Adrian Fackrell very much,” he said. “As much grief as Matt Barton (the baby’s biological father) has gone through, I’ve gone through as much.”

Rowden added that child abusers should be prosecuted and punished.

“The state did not present its case,” said Friesen in an interview outside the courtroom. “He just was not guilty of these charges.” She said jurors couldn’t understand why officials didn’t charge someone else.

Ketchikan Police Chief Grant Sirevog said police did forward charges against another individual to the district attorney, who declined to press charges. District Attorney Steve West wouldn’t comment on that. Regarding Tuesday’s verdict, he said he was disappointed, “but the jury’s the one that makes the decision in the case.”

For more detail on this story, see Tom Miller’s article in the April 9, 2003, edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Jury gets Rowden case
KDN Staff

The case accusing 17-year-old Josh Rowden of killing 7-week-old Adrian Fackrell in April 2002 went to a jury of eight women and four men Monday afternoon.

Only one defense witness, Dr. Janice Ophoven, testified on the fifth day of trial. Closing statements from both sides followed her testimony and the jury received the case at about 4:55 p.m. They went home shortly thereafter, to return Tuesday morning to begin deliberations.

The baby, son of Rowden’s girlfriend, Leah Fackrell, baby, died in Seattle on April 27, 2002, at Children’s Hospital after being transported from Ketchikan on April 16.

Ophoven, a Minnesota-based pediatric forensic pathologist who reviewed the baby’s medical records, contradicted prosecution testimony by Dr. Brian Mazrim, heard Friday, who said blunt force injuries or violent shaking preceded bacterial infections and the meningitis that killed the baby.

“That’s just not right,” Ophoven said.

Ophoven agreed that there were signs of rough handling but that it was not related to the meningitis and fever the baby suffered.

“He didn’t have what he needed to fight this infection,” Ophoven said.

For more detail on this story, see Tom Miller’s article in the April 8, 2003, edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Prosecution rests in baby killing trial
KDN Staff

The prosecution rested Friday in Josh Rowden’s murder trial following testimony from the forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body of 7-week-old Adrian Fackrell.

The baby died in Seattle on April 27, 2002, at Children’s Hospital after being transported from Ketchikan on April 16. The state alleges that Rowden subjected the baby to abusive treatment on more than one occasion during the last four or five weeks of his life.

“This case is classified as a homicide,” Dr. Brian Mazirm said after stating that blunt force injuries or violent shaking preceded the infections and meningitis that killed the baby’s brain. Mazirm is an associate medical examiner for Seattle-King County, Wash.

The defense is scheduled to begin its case at 10 a.m. Monday in Ketchikan Superior Court.

Rowden has pleaded innocent to the charges of murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree and manslaughter. The three charges represent different theories of the case, according to West.

For more detail on this story, see Tom Miller’s article in the April 5-6, 2003, edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Jury hears Rowden police interviews
KDN Staff

Two police officers testified Thursday on the third day of Josh Rowden’s murder trial and the jury listened to tape recordings of their interviews with the defendant.

Rowden, 17, has pleaded innocent to charges that he caused severe injuries that led to the April 27, 2002, death of 7-week-old Adrian Fackrell, his girlfriend’s son.
Seattle detective Alan Cruise said he and another officer interviewed Rowden in Seattle on April 24, 2002. Ketchikan District Attorney Stephen West had described the audio tape recording in his opening statement Tuesday and he played it for the jury Thursday.

On the tape, the officer reads Rowden his rights and then asks many questions regarding the baby’s injuries and Rowden’s knowledge of those injuries. Rowden denied any suggestion that he ever hurt the child knowingly or ever understood that the child needed medical attention before April 16, the day a Callisto Clinic nurse rushed the baby to the Ketchikan General Hospital emergency room.

Rowden told the officers that he performed CPR on the baby after Adrian suddenly stopped breathing on one occasion. The officer asked Rowden to demonstrate the incident on videotape and he complied. Rowden told police that he sometimes tossed the infant in the air gently, and that he shook the baby gently in a way that made the baby smile.

Ketchikan Police Cpl. Carlos Rojas, who interviewed Rowden on April 26, also testified Thursday. Rojas, who had participated in searches of the house where Rowden and the baby’s mother, Leah Fackrell, lived and talked to the baby’s doctors, pushed much harder than Cruise had. Rojas said police knew that none of the explanations Rowden had given in the past was sufficient to cause the injuries the baby had suffered.

Rowden protested his innocence for more than an hour, saying that if he hurt the baby it had been unintentional or while playing in ways he thought Adrian enjoyed. But then, Rowden said he once pulled the baby’s leg hard while changing a diaper and heard two pops. He said he wanted to take the baby to the hospital but that he feared people would think he had abused the baby. Rowden admitted shaking Adrian on one occasion until he stopped breathing. Rowden said he performed CPR on Adrian and the baby responded after vomiting.

On another occasion, Rowden said, he jumped “five or six feet” through the air onto the bed and landed right on the baby, who he said was partially covered by a blanket. Rowden said his knee landed on the baby’s legs.

Rowden’s trial resumed Friday in Ketchikan Superior Court.

For more detail on this story, see Tom Miller’s article in the April 4, 2003, edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Baby death jurors hear about Rowden as parent
KDN Staff

Several people who knew Josh Rowden, the 17-year-old accused of murdering his girlfriend’s baby last year, stood in line to hug and reassure him during breaks in his trial Wednesday in Ketchikan Superior Court.

Seven acquaintances also testified in the trial that Rowden cared for and showed love and affection to Adrian Fackrell, the seven-week-old baby who died of bacterial meningitis on April 27, 2002, at Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

The same witnesses also testified that the baby’s mother, Leah Fackrell, then 18, showed little or no love for the infant.

Leah Fackrell said she was surprised that people thought she was “cold,” but said on the witness stand Wednesday, “I was really nervous about being a mother for the first time.”

At one point, she considered giving the baby to Matt Barton, Adrian’s biological father, but Rowden talked her out of that idea, said Fackrell.

She told West that neither she nor Rowden ever abused the baby.

But under cross-examination, Fackrell admitted that she had told police that motherhood was “very stressful,” that she might have pulled on the baby’s legs too hard, and that she might have been rough when changing the baby’s diapers.

She had also told police investigator Shirley Colby that she wondered whether Rowden was voluntarily taking the blame for her in police interviews when he seemed to admit harming the baby.
In addition to Fackrell, four medical professionals who attempted to save the baby’s life also testified on Wednesday.

Rowden’s trial is set to resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.

For more detail on this story, see Tom Miller’s article in the April 3, 2003, edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.

This story is posted at the following location:

Ketchikan Daily News


Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Baby murder trial begins in Ketchikan
KDN Staff

The State of Alaska on Tuesday opened its case against 17-year-old Josh Rowden, accused of murdering his girlfriend’s infant son in April 2002.

His attorneys claim the state has chosen to disregard evidence.

Ketchikan District Attorney Stephen West told jurors in his opening statement that Adrian Fackrell was born March 5, 2002, and was healthy in examinations on March 12 and March 22. But when Rowden and his girlfriend, Leah Fackrell, brought the infant for an exam April 16, Dr. Norm Herron and his staff immediately observed that the baby appeared to be very sick and dying, said West.

Herron rushed the infant to Ketchikan General Hospital’s emergency room and then to Children’s Hospital in Seattle, said the prosecutor, where Adrian died of meningitis on April 27, 2002. West said that in an April 26 interrogation in Seattle, Rowden admitted to previously shaking the baby until he stopped breathing.

In her opening statement, Assistant Public Defender Barbara Kissner, said Rowden was 16 years old when he met 18-year-old Leah Fackrell in Oregon. Rowden was willing to try to support Leah and her child and happy to be a dad to the baby, said Kissner.

Kissner said police immediately focused on Rowden because he was the boyfriend. She also said the defense will show that the state’s witnesses exaggerated the baby’s injuries.

“Please listen to the evidence they have chosen to disregard,” Kissner said to the jury.

Ketchikan Police Investigator Shirley Colby was the prosecution’s first witness. She testified about the April 26 interview and about the process of learning about and investigating the alleged abuse.
Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks is presiding over Rowden’s trial, which he said would resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

For more detail on this story, see Tom Miller’s article in the April 2, 2003, edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.

This story is posted at the following location:

Ketchikan Daily News

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