By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Pathologist says baby's injuries occurred shortly before death
Placeholder Image
MONROE - Dr. Robert Corliss testified during Casey Shelton's trial Wednesday that Christopher Shelton died from a traumatic injury to the brain that took place soon before he died.

Shelton, 32, Brodhead, is charged with first-degree reckless homicide, a class B felony, in connection with the Feb. 28, 2007, death of his 2-month-old son, Christopher. He faces 60 years in prison, if convicted. His trial continues at the Green County Courthouse in Monroe.

Corliss, a forensic pathologist at University of Wisconsin-Madison, performed Christopher's autopsy March 1, 2007.

He said he noticed bleeding on both sides of the brain, which is common with a child who had been shaken.

A broken blood vessel or an injury to one side of the head would have resulted in blood being found only on one side of the brain, Corliss said. The blood of both sides of the brain were crucial to his findings. The injuries were more like those of a child or an adult who had been in a car crash, Corliss added.

"The child would have been lethargic and vomiting immediately following the injury," Corliss said.

He said Christopher would have died a short time after suffering the injuries, and would not have occurred as early as a few days before he died.

During the autopsy, Corliss also noticed fractures to three ribs that had started to heal, which he said indicated the child was abused - that an adult had squeezed the child.

On cross examination, defense attorney Michael Murphy asked Corliss if a child between the ages of 8 and 10 could have caused the rib injuries.

Corliss said a child's hands wouldn't be large enough to squeeze a child.

Murphy asked Corliss if he was told before the autopsy that child abuse had been suspected in Christopher's death, and Corliss said he had been told that by either the Green County Coroner's office or by Green County Sheriff's Department Detective Terry Argue. However, he said his conclusion as to how Christopher died was based on the autopsy.

During his testimony, Corliss explained his findings to the jury using pictures of the child taken during the autopsy.

Court records indicate Shelton called 911 on Feb. 28, 2007, and told them he needed an ambulance at his residence in Decatur township because his baby stopped breathing. He told emergency responders he was feeding the baby when the baby began to choke.

Christopher was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital in Janesville.

He was arrested May 14, 2007, in Rock County. He remains jailed on a $100,000 cash bond.

His trial is expected to last all week.