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People v. Yocum

APRIL 9, 1970.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

CARL YOCUM, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit; the Hon. FRED J. KULLBERG, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE SEIDENFELD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT. Defendant, Carl Yocum, appeals from a judgment of conviction and sentence of 3 to 10 years after a jury verdict finding him guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter. *fn1

He claims deprivation of a fair trial because of newspaper publicity, and also urges that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

On October 7th, 1968, three-week-old Carol Yocum died.

Dr. Joseph Hosek, a pathologist, testified to the results of his autopsy examination performed on October 7th, approximately one-half hour after the child's death. On external examination of the body he found black and blue marks on the buttocks, measuring about two and one-half inches at greatest length. On examination of the infant's head he found a subarachnoid hemorrhage and also a subdural hemorrhage. In this area, which was over the occipital and parietal lobes of the left cerebrum hemisphere, the brain was very soft; and the remaining part of the brain was swollen because of the increase in pressure caused by the hemorrhage. There were no external marks on the head in the area of the damage.

The Doctor concluded that the cause of death was the pressure of the hemorrhage on the brain. His further opinion was that "this type of hemorrhage is usually the result of a head injury."

He ruled out birth injury because the hemorrhage "looked like it was a week old," plus or minus a couple of days. He said the symptoms of the injury might "take a while" to appear. On examination of the thymus he found nothing wrong.

On cross-examination, the Doctor alluded to reports in the literature and textbooks that spontaneous subdural hemorrhages can occur as a result of a bleeding tendency or infection, and said "so one cannot be absolutely certain, but still this type of hemorrhage is usually related to head injury." The Doctor ruled out other causes because there was no history of any bleeding tendency or finding of infection.

The Doctor also testified that the cause of the injury would not necessarily have been a blow to the head itself; that there were reported cases of forces originating at the buttocks and feet which could be transmitted to the brain. He could not say which force caused the particular injury but testified that it was due to trauma. The Doctor's final conclusion of the cause of death was that "I would have to say it was caused," by a head injury.

The baby's mother, Mary Ann Yocum, testified that there was nothing wrong with the child at birth. Both she and defendant tried to stop the baby from crying on September 30th, 1968. She said,

"Well, Carl had taken the baby into the bedroom, and was going to put her into the bed. And then he went out and she was crying, and I picked her up and she kept crying, and he walked into the bedroom and he went and dropped her on the bed and she bounced up and hit her head on the headboard."

Q. "Was he angry at that time?"

A. "Well, he was upset, he wasn't mad."

The mother further testified that it was the left side of the baby's head which hit the headboard; and following this she noticed a little red mark on the child's head over the left ear, but this was gone the following day. She referred to black and blue marks on the baby's buttocks, and related a conversation with defendant in which she said to him that he "shouldn't have hit her, that he was going to hurt her"; and to her husband's answer that "he knew he shouldn't have done it and didn't know why he did it."

Mrs. Yocum related that they took Carol to the Doctor on October 2nd for treatment of a cough, at a neighbor's suggestion. The Doctor examined the baby and sent her home without prescribing medicine. It was the next day she found the black and blue marks on the baby's buttocks. That night the child choked on the bottle and stopped breathing for a couple of seconds and turned black and blue. They called a rescue squad and the baby seemed all right. The child appeared white that night and didn't cry or wait for her ...


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