Defense takes over arguments in the retrial of Clayton Allison

State prosecutors rested their case after weeks of witness testimony
State prosecutors rested their case after weeks of witness testimony
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 6:35 PM AKST
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - The trial of Clayton Allison, the man accused of killing his 15-month-old daughter Jocelynn, remains underway at the Palmer Courthouse. After weeks of prosecuting testimony, the defense began making its arguments on Monday.

Allison was convicted of murder in 2015 after prosecutors argued his daughter died of shaken baby syndrome. His conviction, however, was overturned in 2019 after the Alaska Court of Appeals found the court’s ruling to ban evidence of a genetic condition in error. Allison has been out of prison since but has been back before a new jury for nearly three weeks now.

Jocelynn’s death was ruled a homicide after a medical examiner reported the cause of death as blunt force trauma, but Allison has maintained from the beginning that the child accidentally fell down a flight of stairs while he was in the bathroom.

Over the past few weeks, state prosecutors have called on a number of medical experts who testified the injuries Jocelynn sustained were inconsistent with a fall.

Allison’s wife C.J. was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type 3, a genetic condition that affects connective tissue, in the year following her daughter’s death. The Allisons suspected that their daughter had the same condition — which they believe could explain how the child died from injuries typically less severe — but the judge forbade it from being submitted into evidence because Jocelynn was never officially diagnosed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, where C.J. received a second diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos, there was a 50% chance Jocelynn inherited the gene that causes the same condition.

Defense attorneys for Allison have largely focused their efforts on the medical condition and on Tuesday called Dr. John Boston, C.J. Allison’s treating physician, to the stand. His testimony only lasted a few minutes and explained to the jury how he reached the determination of her diagnosis for a condition that does not have a definitive test.

Stevan Vaughn, C.J. Allison’s brother, took the stand virtually soon after. He, like his older sister, was also diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos and described to the jury how he injures easily and recovers slowly because of it. He also spoke to his brother-in-law’s character, saying Allison is calm by nature and does not get frustrated or upset easily.

The testimony supported the defense’s stance that if Jocelynn did have Ehlers-Danlos it could have contributed to her fatal injuries that day. The defense intends to call additional witnesses before it expects to rest its case sometime next week.

C.J. Allison is expected to take the stand on Wednesday morning to testify in favor of her husband.