The guilty verdict in a trial of a man accused of assaulting his girlfriend with a deadly weapon was credited largely to biomechanics testimony by Wilson C. “Toby” Hayes, PhD, president of Hayes+Associates, Inc, of Corvallis.
Rich Conn of Coquille, OR, was charged with assaulting Anne Bollinger, his live-in partner, leaving her in a persistently vegetative state that will likely be permanent. The couple were living together when Bollinger sustained a skull fracture that left her with tetraplegia and no means of communicating. Conn claimed he did not know what happened to Bollinger, and assumed she might have fallen down the stairs at their home. Conn testified he did not know the extent of her injuries, and allowed her to remain on a couch for seven hours before calling for an ambulance. Responders stated they were immediately suspicious of Conn’s story when they arrived to find Bollinger in critical condition.
As a witness for the prosecution, led by R. Paul Frasier, Coos County District Attorney, Dr. Hayes testified that he and his associate, Ellen L. Lee, MS, found no indication in analyzing the case that a fall could have produced the injuries Bollinger sustained to the upper back of her skull. The depression there, a third of an inch deep, and the resulting extensive brain bleeding she experienced, could have been caused only by a blunt instrument, such as a heavy frying pan, Dr. Hayes said. An expert for the defense, Dr. Richard Reimann, attempted to refute evidence that Bollinger’s injuries could not have resulted from a fall down the stairs.
Frasier believed Dr. Hayes’ impressive credentials and his injury analysis based on physics and biomechanics was the state’s best shot at securing the jury’s guilty verdict. "Dr. Hayes came across very well,” Frasier said. “Basically, I think the jury needed to decide if they believed Dr. Hayes or not, and if they didn't, there was no case." Frasier focused on the defendant’s inconsistencies in describing what had happened, his delay in calling for medical assistance, and on Dr. Hayes’ testimony. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning the guilty verdict.
Hayes+Associates, Inc, (http://www.hayesassoc.com) is an expert witness and consulting firm, based in Corvallis, OR. The company brings more than 75 years of collective experience in academic research, university teaching and forensic testimony to practice areas that include vehicle collisions, premises safety, slips and falls, products liability, worker safety, sports and recreation, patent litigation and criminal matters.