A parade of witnesses for the state highlighted the first day of testimony Tuesday in the second-degree murder trial of Waynesville resident Ryan Evans.
Evans is also charged with child abuse resulting in death, in addition to the murder charge, in the death of 15-month-old Skyler Ray Barrett, who was living with his mother Dasha and Evans when he died on Oct. 23, 2006.
Susan Boresi, prosecuting the case for the Missouri Attorney General's office, called several of Skyler's relatives, as well as several emergency and rescue workers who responded to the incident, to testify.
Under questioning by Boresi, Nick Barrett (Skyler's father), Jeff and Tricia Barrett (grandparents), and Robert and Linda Myers (grandparents) all testified that they had spent much time with Skyler, and that he never showed any bruises, bleeding or other injuries until he started living with Dasha and Ryan Evans in Waynesville, starting when Dasha moved back to Missouri from Indiana in August 2006.
Nick Barrett said he was living with his parents in Indiana when he got a call on the night of Oct. 23 from Dasha, who told him Skyler was sick. Nick Barrett said he called his parents, and the three of them left for Missouri that night. Nick Barrett testified that he was not aware that Skyler's condition was critical.
Nick testified that when he got to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis, to where Skyler had been transferred from General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, he found Skyler in the intensive care unit, "basically lifeless, with tubes coming out of him." Nick Barrett said that Skyler had a bruise on his forehead, and a bruise on the left side of the face, a bruise which looked like the imprint of a hand.
Nick Barrett said Ryan Evans was in the unit, but when he saw Nick, he got on the elevator and left without saying a word to him.
Jeff Barrett said that when Evans what had happened, "he wouldn't face me. I asked him what happened, and he just turned his head away and looked down."
Tricia Barrett also testified that Ryan Evans did not respond when asked what happened. She testified, however, that Dasha said, "Ryan didn't do anything," even though no one had accused Evans of anything.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Mark Pugh, Tricia Barrett admitted that she and Dasha "used to be very close." However, when Pugh asked her if Evans shook her hand, she said she did not recall that happening.
Robert Myers testified that he got along well with Evans, but said he saw some things while and his wife were visiting in October 2006 that disturbed him. He and his wife noticed that Skyler had a black left eye. They asked Skyler what had happened to his eye. When Skyler answered by simply pointing to his eye and saying "eye," Myers asked Ryan Evans, who said that Skyler had fallen. When Myers asked Evans about bruises on the left side of Skyler's face, Evans told Myers that Skyler had fallen off the porch at another person's house.
Myers also recalled an incident when Skyler ran past him, followed by Evans, who said, according to Myers, "You'd better run if you know what's good for you."
Myers said he considered taking Skyler back to Indiana, and with his voice choking with emotion, he said he regretted his decision not to take him back.
Myers said he got a call on Oct. 23 from Dasha's boss, saying he had to take Dasha to the hospital because Skyler was "not breathing." When Myers got to Cardinal Glennon, the doctor told him that Skyler was a victim of "abuse" and "shaken baby syndrome. Myers testified that after the doctor said that, Evans said, "I didn't do anything," even though no one had accused him.
Boresi also called to the stand the emergency workers who responded to the call on Oct. 23, 2006. Mark Shepherd and Dennis Smith, the first responders for the Waynesville fire department who arrived on the scene first, testified, as did Penny Cash, a paramedic for the Pulaski County Ambulance District. Larry Summers, the flight paramedic who treated Skyler on the helicopter ride to Cardinal Glennon, and Kelly Catron, a registered nurse who was in the emergency room that night at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, also testified.
The emergency workers mostly described how they treated Skyler that night. Shepherd and Smith testified that they did not see any bruises on Skyler. During cross-examination, Pugh tried to cast doubt as to whether or not Smith was certified to give CPR when he treated Skyer, but Smith contended that he had been.
Pugh also questioned the wisdom of Smith laying Skyler on the pavement while giving CPR, but Smith contended that Skyler suffered no injuries. "I didn't drop him, I just laid him on the pavement," Smith said. "His head was just resting on the pavement."
Under questioning from Boresi, both Cash and Catron testified that they saw no sign of "anyone beating the hell out of the kid" in the emergency room.
The trial is expected to last two weeks. Boresi said she plans to call several medical workers to the stand, and plans to be done by Thursday.