(Palmer, AK) – A Palmer jury spent 10 days in reviewing evidence before deciding that Clayton Phillip Allison, 39, was guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the death of his daughter, 15-month-old Jocelynn Renee Allison. The jury acquitted him of second-degree murder and manslaughter. It was the second jury to weigh the evidence in the 2008 case.
In the first trial, Allison faced charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide and was found guilty of all three in 2015. But the Alaska Court of Appeals reversed the conviction for a new trial. The court said the defendant was denied a fair trial when he was not permitted to present defense evidence of a possible rare condition called Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome, not diagnosed in his daughter, as an explanation for some of her injuries.
On Sept. 24, 2008, Jocelyn Allison was non-responsive and exhibiting agonal (labored/near-death) breathing when her dad called 911. Allison said his daughter had fallen down eight to nine carpeted stairs and was initially fine and then quickly became non-responsive and had difficulty breathing. His daughter underwent emergency surgery to relieve the swelling from a large subdural hematoma in her brain, but she died during surgery. Investigation and medical evidence later showed that the daughter was injured hours earlier than the 911 call, and Allison did not seek help until his daughter started struggling to breathe. An autopsy revealed that his daughter had numerous and severe brain and neck injuries and retinal hemorrhaging, consistent with a condition called abusive head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome.
The sentencing range for Allison’s conviction for criminally negligent homicide is one to three years. Allison has already served 4.6 years after his former conviction. Sentencing will be set in June.
“The State appreciates the hard work of the jury on this case. We recognize their thoughtful consideration of the evidence and holding the defendant accountable for the death of his vulnerable child. The defense argued that the child had an undiagnosed condition called Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, but the jury nonetheless found that he had caused her death,” said Assistant District Attorney Krista Anderson.
For more information, contact Assistant District Attorney Krista Anderson at Krista.Anderson@alaska.gov
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