Defendant Takes The Stand To Deny Killing His 5-Month-Old Daughter

Baltimore Courthouse

Anthony Ford, 25, took the stand on Aug. 17 before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Cynthia H. Jones to deny he killed his 5-month-old daughter.

Ford is charged with second-degree murder, child abuse resulting in the death of a child younger than 13, first-degree child abuse resulting in severe physical injury and first-degree assault for allegedly shaking his baby daughter to death.

The prosecutor called one of the responding paramedics, who performed CPR and transported the victim to the hospital. The paramedic testified that the child was not breathing upon arrival and did not have a pulse. The paramedic also said he observed what appeared to be bruising on the child’s body and blood coming out of the baby’s nose. 

During defense attorney Tony Garcia’s cross-examination, the paramedic also said Ford asked him to help the baby. 

The prosecutor also called the medical examiner who performed the victim’s autopsy and ultimately ruled the death a homicide. The medical examiner testified to finding multiple bruises on the victim during the autopsy that he ruled as blunt force trauma. He also said he noticed bleeding in the brain, which was the cause of death. 

Garcia questioned the medical examiner about the bruising and suggested that some of the marks could have been caused by the force applied during CPR. 

Garcia called a forensic pathologist to discuss the report she generated using photos and records for the victim’s case. The pathologist said she believed the medical examiner was operating under bias when he completed the victim’s autopsy because he had already spoken to investigators and paramedics who told him about possible bruises they noticed on the victim’s body. 

“You miss out on opportunities to truly investigate what is going on,” the pathologist said in reference to the medical examiner having perceived tunnel vision when performing the autopsy for this case. 

The pathologist presented her findings, saying that scans of the victim’s lungs and the mother’s previous testimony that the victim had been wheezing the night before indicated that she was suffering from pneumonia. She went on to explain to the jury, with photos and diagrams, that the victim’s white blood cell count and blood clots suggested that she was experiencing sepsis as a result of her infection, which ultimately led to the child’s death.

The pathologist also presented a few scientific journals to the jury that refuted the medical examiner’s findings. According to the pathologist, the marks on the child’s skin were due to hemorrhaging and not bruises indicative of child abuse.

During cross-examination, the prosecutor asked the pathologist if she was paid for her testimony, to which she replied that she was paid to generate a report, but not to testify. The pathologist said the defense did pay for her flight and hotel, but not for food or other expenses. 

During his testimony, Ford recounted the day his daughter passed away, telling the jury that when she stopped breathing, he immediately called 911. 

Ford said he was not allowed to ride in the ambulance, so he rode to the hospital with police. He said he fully cooperated with police.

When asked if he has ever shaken or hit his child he said, he has not. To complete Ford’s testimony, Garcia asked him if he killed his daughter, to which he asserted “No.” 

During his cross-examination, the prosecutor reiterated that Ford had been alone in the house with his daughter that morning, while everybody was at work. 

Ford’s trial is scheduled to continue on Aug. 18.