Judge Orders August 2004 Evidentiary Hearing For Alan Yurko
By Hans Sherrer
Justice:Denied magazine, Issue 24, page 8
On March 26, 2004 Circuit Judge C. Alan Lawson ordered an evidentiary hearing in the Alan Yurko case. [See, Triumph Over Tragedy, Justice:Denied magazine, Issue 23, Winter 2004, http://justicedenied.org/yurko.htm]. After the hearing that is scheduled to begin on August 23, 2004, Judge Lawson can reverse Yurko’s conviction and order a new trial, or he can let the conviction stand.
Alan Yurko was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in February 1999 of murdering his ten week old son, Alan Jr. However dozens of medical experts in the U.S. and other countries have reached conclusions that not only contest the prosecution’s contention that baby Alan died of Shaken Baby Syndrome, but they have identified that his possible cause of death was medical malpractice by his doctors.
Furthermore, it now appears that testimony during Alan Yurko’s trial by Orange-Osceola County Medical Examiner Shashi Gore concerned his autopsy of a child who was not baby Alan. It appears that Gore either did not autopsy baby Alan, or he confused his autopsy with that of the radically dissimilar child he testified about at Alan Yurko’s trial. After investigating a complaint filed by Francine Yurko, Alan’s wife, that documented Gore’s misconduct in the Yurko case, the state Medical Examiners Committee barred Gore in February 2004 from performing any autopsies until his scheduled retirement in June 2004.
Alan Yurko’s contention he didn’t receive a fair trial was also bolstered by the Orlando Sentinel’s report on March 27, 2004, that at least one of his jurors believes he should get a new trial. The juror, Thomas Miller, told the paper that if what has been publicly reported about Gore’s suspect testimony had been disclosed during the trial, “...there’s no way I could have found [Yurko] guilty.”
It was also reported in the Orlando Sentinel that PBS documentary maker Gary Null has begun work on a documentary about the Yurko case. Interviewed from his New York office, Mr. Null told the Sentinel, “The facts support the complete exoneration of Alan Yurko.”
Courtroom observers expressed concern about Judge Lawson’s impartiality due to the manner in which he denied all of Alan Yurko’s motions complementary to his motion for a new trial. However the documentation filed prior to the evidentiary hearing will ensure preservation of the record for higher court review, if necessary, of issues that may be glossed over by Judge Lawson.
Justice:Denied will report further updates in the Yurko case as they occur.
Dead Baby’s Dad Closer To Retrial, Amy C. Rippel and Anthony Colarossi (staff writers), Orlando Sentinel, March 27, 2004.
Interview of Francine Yurko by Hans Sherrer, March 29, 2004.