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Retrial of Troy father accused of killing his infant son is underway

Updated: 05/29/2014 6:04 PM
Created: 05/29/2014 12:09 PM WNYT.com
By: WNYT Staff

TROY -- There was some friction in the Rensselaer County courtroom even before the trial began. Judge Andrew Cerecia ruled on a request by prosecutors to allow a late witness in the case. Prosecutors said the witness, William Terry was in county jail with Andrian Thomas, 32 back in 2009 when he admitted to Terry to killing his 4-month old son.

"I was bouncing him for a minute. Then he cried harder. So I was bouncing him off the bed, trying to get him to be quiet. He bounced onto the floor," Assistant District Attorney Christa Book told the jury in her opening statement.

Book said Terry was not offered anything for his cooperation. But Thomas' attorney Steve Coffey called Terry's credibility into question.

"This William Terry who is the premise of this case has been convicted of 4 felonies, 14 misdemeanors, has a number of aliases and is a professional criminal," Coffey told jurors.

Coffey said it's a desperate case that calls for desperate measures. This is Thomas' second trial. He was convicted of the crime back in 2009. But the conviction was overturned. A higher court ruled that his confession could not be used because police lied to him to get that confession. Prosecutors did not use terry as a witness in the first trial.

"They're going to call him because they know very well they don't have the science in this case," Coffey said.

Both sides spent a great deal of time telling jurors about the science. The prosecution said they have expert medical testimony to prove that the infant boy died of a brain injury caused by Thomas.

"It was either a shaking type of injury or a slamming that caused the brain to accelerate and decelerate within the skull," Book said.

The defense countered that the boy died of a bacterial infection called Sepsis.

"He died of septic shock. And two world renowned experts will tell you that. There is no evidence of trauma," Coffey said.

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