Defense attorney: Hayes didn't cause Vancouver baby's death

Portland man’s bail reduced to $100K from $300,000

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: August 14, 2013, 6:21 PM

 

The attorney for a Portland man accused of recklessly causing the death of a 1-year-old Vancouver girl says he plans to challenge a finding by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office that the baby died from human-inflicted trauma to the head.

Andrew R. Hayes, 24, was baby-sitting Amya Gibson May 29 at her mother’s Vancouver home while the mother, Emilee Smith, was at work. He said he laid Amya down for a nap on a bed and later found her crumpled on the floor next to the bed, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Clark County Superior Court.

“He didn’t do anything to cause the death,” his court-appointed attorney, Gerald Wear of Vancouver, said Wednesday. “That’s what I am saying. The charges are entirely based on the medical examiner’s conclusion on the cause of death.”

Not guilty plea

Hayes pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of first-degree manslaughter, as several of his family members and supporters sat in the courtroom’s public gallery. They declined to comment on the case as they filed out of the courtroom.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Scott Collier reduced Hayes’ bail from $300,000 to $100,000, after Wear argued that the initial amount set by Judge David Gregerson was excessive. Wear said that Hayes has no criminal history and has a stable place to live with his family in Portland. He requested that Hayes be considered for supervised release, a question that will be considered at a subsequent hearing. Defendants on supervised release are not required to post bail to get out of jail.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Alan Harvey objected to the bail reduction and supervised release. Harvey said the gravity of the charge and the fact that Hayes had to be arrested on a warrant justified the high bail.

Wear said Hayes isn’t a flight risk or a danger to the community. He was arrested at his family’s home in Portland and waived an extradition hearing in Oregon’s Multnomah County, which would have delayed his prosecution in Clark County.

Experts to be hired

Hayes told Vancouver police investigators that Amya apparently fell off of a bed on the morning of May 29 at the home and then began acting abnormally. The bed measured 21 inches high and stood on a carpeted floor, the affidavit says.

He called Smith to alert her of the problem, and she advised him to wait to call 911 because she was on her way home, according to court documents. She called 911 after arriving home and seeing the child’s condition, the affidavit says.

An autopsy by the medical examiner’s office determined that pooled blood in the child’s brain was caused by blunt-force trauma and that the injury was inconsistent with a fall from a bed of that height onto a carpeted floor.

Additional testing at Oregon Health & Science University found that Amya had a small bruise on her cerebellum, a part of the brain located on the lower back edge of the skull near the neck.

Wear said Wednesday that he would hire experts to give second opinions on that finding.

Hayes’ trial is tentatively set for Sept. 16.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.