A seven woman, five man jury deliberated exactly one hour before returning a not guilty verdict in a child abuse murder trial Wednesday afternoon in Rogers County District Court.
“ ... not guilty” the judge’s clerk read.
The accused, Donald Alam, cried.
It was three years and seven months ago, on July 7, 2004, that Alam stood accused of killing his 3- month-old daughter, Jasmyn, and charged with murder by child abuse.
Alam, along with his family, friends, supporters and attorney Jack Gordon were visibly emotional, tears running down their faces, following the jury’s finding
“We are very pleased the jury was able to understand who Donald Alam was, is and will be tomorrow,” Gordon said after the trial. “He is a nice man with impeccable integrity.”
“This family has been destroyed and the not guilty verdict does not bring back Jasmyn Alam,” he said on behalf of the family. “But the system worked.”
Charges of murder by child abuse were filed against Alam two months after his infant daughter died from a head injury.
Alam maintained the May 10, 2004 injuries to his infant daughter were accidental and made several statements to law enforcement and other officials to that effect. He also testified in court that he fell over a coffee table dropping the baby while he attempted to make his way from the living room couch, where he had been sitting with the child in his arms, to the bedroom of his family’s 14-foot-wide trailer.
Jasmyn was taken to Claremore Regional Hospital and later airlifted to a Tulsa hospital where she died approximately 24 hours later.
Lead prosecutor Assistant District Attorney Patrick Abitbol and Assistant District Attorney Edith Singer attempted to prove Alam had intentionally caused the fatal injury to Jasmyn. The State’s theory was Alam had grabbed his baby girl, possibly by the legs, and then “slammed” her head onto the coffee table. Two pathologists even told the jury the injuries could not have occurred from the child hitting a carpeted floor as Alam had indicated over and over.
Defense witness, Dr. David Posey (a medical expert with a background in incident reconstruction and pathology) disagreed with the prosecution’s theory and testimony of two other medical experts. Posey based his conclusions on mathematical calculations involving G-forces and then demonstrated his findings with a doll.
The testimony of a key investigator at the alleged crime scene, Claremore Police Sgt. Wayne Stinnett, was also brought into question by Alam’s defense. Stinnett rebutted testimomy by two defense witnesses who claimed to have been at the house when Alam was questioned. Stinnett stated their testimony was simply “not true.”
However, family friend Julie Spease, who said she was in the home while Stinnett was present, countered that statement Wednesday morning.
Spease brought to court a purse and a quilt that were both depicted in crime scene photos Stinnett had taken on the night of May 10, 2004.
“I would not go anywhere without my purse and my daughter is very attached to that blanket,” Spease told the jury. She also pointed out Stinnett as one of the men who were present in the home that night saying, “He was taking pictures with I think a 35 mm camera with a strap.”
In returning the not guilty verdict, the jury either found reasonable doubt in the state’s case or did not believe there was sufficient evidence to convict Alam of intentionally killing his daughter.
Alam’s family and friends have stood by him throughout the last three-and-a-half years while the case lingered on, including the past five days of the trial.
Gordon said, although Alam was found not guilty, this will only heal a portion of the family’s pain.
Alam was a father of two in May 2004, and can now continue to be a father to his 11-year-old daughter.