Parents’ nightmare: babysitter’s secret

Arroyo, Bryant



tree this bad fruit is falling from is itself thoroughly rotten, and the source and cause of their decay. This tree has a name. It's called capitalist-imperialism—the most putrid, and environmentally and socially destructive political-economic system history has known, a decadent system that V. I. Lenin characterized as "rotten ripe for revolution." Settling for any "solution" short of revolution will see us all go extinct. We must wake up to its designs and stop it cold. Hopefully, these reflections on the PPB will help remove our blinders and fortif)^ our resolve. Dare to Struggle Dare to Win! All Power to the People! 1 An extensive and thoroughly documented expose on the Vietnam War, which includes source references to much of my discussion in this section, can be found in Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War In Vietnam (Henry Holt, New York, 2013). 2 On General Miller's torture program developed at Guantanamo Bay and transferred to Abu Ghraib, see Alfred McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror (Henry Holt, New York, 2006) pp., 126-30, 133-34, 137, 153-56. 3 See Deborah Pearlstein's testimonial account of the 2006 torture reports and official efforts to hide the Taguba report, before the Committee on the Judiciary at http:Hjudiciary. house.gOv/hearings/pdf/Pearlstein080715.pdf 4 Karl Kersplebedeb, "Asthmatic Prisoner Doused With Pepper Spray, Refused Medical Care, Dies: Just Another Day in the Texas Prison System," November 8, 2013, at rashidmod. com and Socialist Viewpoint, Vol. 14, No.. 1 janfeb_14_20.html 5 Brandi Grissom, "Violence Behind Bars— A Tie to Mental Illness," The Texas Tribune, September 22, 2013. 6 See Ruiz v. Johnson, 37 F. Supp. 2d 855 (S. D. Tex. 1999); Ruiz v. Johnson, 154 F. Supp. 2d 976 (S.D. Tex. 2001); also my article on the extensively documented abusive nature of Texas prisons, Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, "U.S. Prison Practices Would Disgrace a Nation of Savages: Texas—^A Case on Record," at and Socialist Viewpoint, Vol. 14, No. 1 h ttp://www. socialistviewpoin t. o rg/janfeb_ 14/ janfeb_14_19.html BY BRYANT ARROYO The saga that I have endured throughout the past twenty years is a good example of all that is wrong with our legal system and the people who are charged with carrying it out. On Saturday evening, September 24, 1994, as was customary, I returned home from work on my 2-10:00 P.M. shift at the Grinnell Corporation in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I relieved the babysitter and assumed that all was well. I'd had a long day at work so I dozed off on the sofa with my stepson, Kyle. At about 1:00 A.M. my girlfriend, Pamela, returned home from an outing with her mother, Bonnie, and some friends. I woke up and decided to check on my other stepson, 8-month-old baby Jordan. I thought it odd that the baby was in the upstairs room because he was usually in the downstairs playpen. Maybe the babysitter took him upstairs before she- lefty I-thought. I-ascended the" 1-3 steps leading to the second floor of our apartment. I was stunned to find baby Jordan unconscious and blue. In a frantic response, I brought baby Jordan downstairs and yelled for Pamela, Jordan's mother, to call 9-1-1. Untrained as I was, I still attempted to administer CPR on Jordan. Pamela was standing next to me with the phone. She waited several minutes and rushed outside to see if she could spot any sign of an ambulance. She came to my aid, put the phone to my ear so that I could speak with the operator about baby Jordan's condition. The first to arrive at the apartment were two police officers from Manheim Township Police Department. Officer John Wettlaufer took over the administration of CPR by first removing baby Jordan from the seat of the chair where I, in my untrained condition, had placed him on the floor to continue to Bryant Arroyo administer CPR. Unfortunately, Baby Jordan remained unresponsive to all attempts to revive him. Baby Jordan was transported via ambulance to Lancaster General Hospital where unfortunately all farther attempts to revive hirn were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at 3:40 A.M. It appeared to be a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the cause of death recorded was "cardiac arrest." Pamela and I were questioned closely by detectives. This was the result of the physicians at Lancaster General Hospital having notified the coroner and stating that the baby's death was suspicious due to certain bruise-marks on the baby's lower chest and abdomen. Baby Jordan had a mark on his face, which was the result of his bumping his head against a hot iron that was thoughtlessly placed on the floor of a friend's house during a visit, but other than that, aU reports about baby Jordan's care were positive. The police would later write in their report that the home was weU kept and neat; , the refrigerator and cupboards were well stocked with food. Vol. 14, No. 3 SOCIALIST VIEWPOINT 53 After agreeing to go to the police station, Pamela and I were separated and intensely interviewed by detectives. Particularly, I was subjected to hours of interrogation. I had little to eat. 1 was devastated about baby Jordan's unforeseen death. 1 was emotionally drained. After hours of intense questioning, the lead detective in the case. Detective Raymond E. Solt, typed up a version of what he purported that 1 stated had happened. In my experience with legal matter, and trusting that this was a poUce officer, I signed the document without first reading its content. I signed in the manner that Detective Solt indicated, not knowing that I had just signed a confession detective to first degree murder. Detective Raymond E. Solt is well known for his role in the investigation of the Lisa M. Lambert case. Lambert is the young teen who was accused of killing Laurie Show, a sixteen-year-old who lived in Lampeter Township, Lancaster County. The case received national attention when a federal judge ordered Lisa M. Lambert released in April 1997 after finding her trial was " infected with numerous instances of prosecutorial misconduct. OfRaymond E. Solt, the federal Judge, Stewart J. Dalzell, found his testimony "fantastic." The judge further believed that he (Raymond E. Solt) made alterations to Lisa M. Lambert's alleged confession. There were some interesting similarities between the Lambert case and mine. Some of the same principals were involved in both prosecutions. Detective Solt took both the statements which he later went on to label as "confessions," in both cases he made them sign each page of the type-written manuscript in bold cursive writing. The case had many irregularities from the start and it followed through during the entire case from the investigation part to the prosecution. For example, Dr. Barry Walp, the County Coroner who was summoned to Lancaster General Hospital to examine baby Jordan, it's worth noting, that he did not speak with me or Pamela or any of our friends and family whom arrived at the hospital to offer support to us, the grieving parents. beating as was the state's theory. This begs the question—why? Why would the Coroner make such a determination of facts without speaking with the parents about the baby's condition prior to his death? Why would Dr. Ross first say the bruises on baby Jordan were healing and then at the preliminary hearing say they were fresh? Why, if I beat the baby repeatedly with my fist while the baby hung from one arm wasn't there any evidence at aU of broken bones, swelling or dislocation of the infant's shoulder? Which one would expect if the state's theory is to be believed. He noticed some small marks on baby Jordan's lower chest and abdomen. The. LGH report'indicates that there were 11 in number and appeared "brownish/purplish" in color. Walp said to poHce investigators. "The bruising were not from tonight, but from possibly a couple of days ago." In other words, they were in the stages of healing and could not have been caused by CPR being performed the night that At some point Dr. Ross testified that baby Jordan died. In Detective Leed's baby Jordan received a beating equal to report, he was told by the medical being hit by a truck traveling at 30 milesexaminer. Dr. Ross, "There are 16 heal- per-hour. How can it be possible that a ing bruise marks on (Jordan's) chest 235 pound man supposedly grabbed an and abdomen... The injuries could 8-month-old baby, held him by one arm have occurred within three to 24 hours and beat him with a closed fist in a state of death," Yet, conveniently for the of rage, then switched-him to the other prosecution's case, at my preliminary arm and continued to beat him as was hearing Dr, Ross testified that the the state's theory, and all you can find is bruises on the child's abdomen were a few small bruises? This is humanly "fresh" and he described their color as impossible and a clear work of fiction by being "feddish-bTo^wn, He went on to ^ h e state with the help of Dr. Ross and state that the child's death was due to aided by the incompetence of my defense "blunt chest and abdominal trauma," counsel. The facts in this case do not supBased on Dr, Ross's testimony, which port a conviction of first-degree murder was not challenged by any expert for or any murder period. This case must be the defense because there weren't any, reversed and justice must prevail. I was convicted of first-degree murder Finally, and most importantly, and sentenced to life imprisonment. twenty years later, even though we As stated at the start, my case repre- aren't together, I still have the full supsents all that is wrong with our legal port of Pamela, Jordan's mother, and system—particularly, when it comes to Bonnie, the grandmother of baby a defendant with little to no financial Jordon, who champion my innocence. means by which to hire powerful attorI remain suffering this horrible neys and experts to rebut the state's case. "miscarriage of Justice" every waking It is very important to note that at trial Dr, Ross testified that baby Jordan died of blunt force trauma. However, the autopsy report did not reveal any indication • of child abuse by way of fractures, healing or fresh, there was no tearing or lacerations of the baby's skin. There was no obvious swelling or edema associated with a repetitive day and night, wrongly convicted of a crime I didn't commit; especially, as a parent, I know I made every effort to save my son's life. If this is not the most vicious form of cruel and unusual punishment, I don't know what is. I wait for the support I need to prove my innocence once and for all. Continued on page 55 54 SOCIALIST VIEWPOINT Vol. 14, No. 3

Author: Arroyo, Bryant

Author Location: Pennsylvania

Date: May 2014

Genre: Essay

Extent: 3 pages

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