KETCHIKAN - A jury acquitted a Ketchikan teen Tuesday of charges he killed his girlfriend's baby. After less than a day of deliberating, a jury of eight women and four men found 17-year-old Josh Rowden innocent on all counts.
Rowden was accused of killing 7-week-old Adrian Fackrell in April 2002, when he was 16 years old. The baby was the son of Rowden's girlfriend, Leah Fackrell.
The jury began deliberating Monday afternoon after five days of testimony. The jurors returned their verdict Tuesday afternoon.
The infant died of meningitis in a Seattle hospital on April 27, 2002, after being transported from Ketchikan 11 days earlier.
A doctor testifying for the prosecution said blunt force injuries or violent shaking preceded bacterial infections and the meningitis that killed the baby.
But an expert brought in by the defense disagreed, saying there were signs of rough handling, but it was not related to the meningitis and fever the baby suffered.
Rowden was indicted by a grand jury last May. He was charged with first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter. That gave the jury several options.
In closing arguments, both sides worked to convince the jury to follow their interpretation of medical testimony offered by four doctors and two nurses.
Rowden's lawyer, Barbara Kissner, questioned whether Rowden knowingly could have committed the crimes alleged.
Prosecutor Stephen Webb told jurors Rowden had admitted that on one occasion, he shook the baby until he stopped breathing, and that on at least two occasions he had pulled the baby's legs very hard.