New trial coming on infant’s injuries

First jury split, but reportedly leaned hard for acquitting father

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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Prosecutors say they plan to re-try a Vancouver man accused of seriously assaulting his infant daughter after the first trial resulted in a hung jury.

This decision comes despite jurors’ reportedly voting 11-1 to acquit Ryan Buck Kannegaard, 26, after the trial last month. The possibility of a second trial exists because verdicts — even verdicts to acquit — must be unanimous.

Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik, citing court rules, said this week that he could not comment on the reason his office is going forward to another trial. He said commenting on evidence or giving his opinion of the case could unfairly prejudice the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

A mistrial was declared Aug. 3 after jurors deliberated more than eight hours following the six-day trial and could not reach a unanimous verdict. They had to decide whether Kannegaard was guilty of first-degree assault of a child and first-degree criminal mistreatment relating to a November 2009 incident, when the defendant’s daughter Phoenix was rushed to the hospital with serious abdominal injuries.

Kannegaard’s new trial on the same charges is set for Oct. 31.

For nearly two years, Kannegaard, an honorably discharged U.S. Marine with no criminal record, has maintained that his daughter’s injuries — a lacerated spleen and perforated bowel — were caused by her 3-year-old sister jumping on her. She has since recovered.

The prosecution, however, has contended that Kannegaard snapped from financial and marital problems, assaulting Phoenix while he was watching her the evening of Nov. 2, 2009. However, they’ve never said exactly what happened.

Defense attorney David McDonald has said there is little, if any, evidence of an assault. All the doctors who testified could not rule out Kannegaard’s story.

“We are extremely disappointed that the prosecutor’s office is persisting in the prosecution of Mr. Kannegaard, and (are) concerned that they have apparently rejected the overwhelming determination of the jury that Mr. Kannegaard did not commit these crimes,” McDonald said in a statement.

McDonald said he isn’t ready to wave a white flag. He had a meeting scheduled Friday to discuss the case with prosecutors. He also said he expects the case will be “heavily litigated” before another trial.

“We will carefully consider the prosecutor’s determination and continue to take all appropriate steps to ensure justice for Mr. Kannegaard,” McDonald said.

Trials cost the county approximately $1,500 to $2,000 a day, including staff costs.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.