Just moments after the announcement that a jury failed to reach a verdict in a baby assault case Thursday, the defendant began yelling at Spokane County Superior Court Judge Annette Plese after she ordered him held on a $50,000 bond after personally seeing him violate the terms of his release.
The jury ended its deliberations Thursday morning after getting the case at lunch on Wednesday. Jurors could not come to consensus regarding the second-degree assault of a child charge against Dmitriy I. Diakonu, 32, who is accused of shaking his 3-month-old son in 2017 so hard that it caused bleeding on the brain and temporary blindness.
Prior to the trial, Diakonu remained out of custody and apparently was allowed to have contact with his wife but not the child. However, Plese said she saw the couple and the child on a bench outside of court. After she announced the $50,000 bond, Diakonu told the judge that he pays all the bills for the household.
“You are putting a $50,000 bond on me like I’m Bill Gates?” Diakonu said. “Come on. Would you like my head on a stake? Would that change anything?”
The outburst came a day after Diakonu’s parents both yelled “liar” at Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Amanda Fry after she completed her closing arguments on Wednesday.
Fry told the jury that investigators know Diakonu intentionally hurt his 3-month-old son based on his own words. Diakonu told police he told the infant to “shut up” and that crying would not help the constipated baby have a bowel movement.
“He was frustrated that (the baby) was still crying,” Fry said. Alona Kutsevalova, the mother, “came in to give him a bottle and his eyes rolled back into his head. She tried to revive (the baby), not the defendant. Any reasonable person would never shake an infant in this way.”
But defense attorney Jeffrey Compton argued the bleeding on the brain, which caused temporary blindness, could have come from a chronic condition that sometimes occurs with babies born before they reach full term.
Compton, who noted the child has regained his sight and is now “fine,” said both parents tried to resuscitate the baby, whose eyes rolled back into his head on the morning of July 14, 2017.
“He got to the hospital, he didn’t have a mark on him,” Compton said of the baby. “Basically, this is a diagnosis by default. Rather than say ‘we don’t know’ what caused the bleeding on the brain they said ‘it was a result of assault.’
“If they are wrong, they are going to do a tremendous amount of damage to families, and in this case, Dmitriy Diakonu.”
Kutsevalova told investigators that Diakonu was only alone with the baby long enough for her to prepare a bottle.
“There simply is no reason for him to snap,” Compton said. “There are no marks on the child to show that he’s snapped in the past. What are they left with? You’ve gotta claim that he was shaken because they have nothing else.”
Experts testified the only way a baby could suffer that level of bleeding was either from a serious car crash or by violent shaking. But Compton said doctors found no corresponding bruising from finger-grab marks that you would expect to see if someone had violently shaken the infant.
“We have these charges because they couldn’t come up with a reason for these injuries,” he said.
But Fry said doctors who specialize in treating children are the ones who raised the alarms.
The doctors “who actually treat these people every single day, they are the people saying there is no legitimate debate here,” Fry said. “They are not out to get these families or find abuse in every case. But in this case, we are left with a violent shaking. He was violently shaken by his father.”
Judge Plese rescheduled the trial for July 15.
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