Ronald DiMambro Jr. was convicted in 2014 for the murder of Damian Sutton, the two-year-old son of his ex-girlfriend, and sentenced to life in prison.
Damian and his mother were living in the home of Ronald’s parents. Damian was in the care of Ronald at the time of the alleged assault in August 2013 while his mother was at work. The defense say Damian accidentally fell from a kitchen bar stool 1-3 days earlier, and that likely accounted for his death. Damian was taken to hospital, but was taken off life support and died six days later.
In October 2014 a judge ordered a new trial, ruling that 32 photographs withheld by the prosecution were crucial, stating that “The information provided by these photographs … would likely have materially changed how the jury viewed the relationship between the defendants’ conduct and Damian’s death. The nondisclosure may have been unintentional, but it was no harmless error.”
The photographs could have helped the defense, and its expert, Dr. Bader Cassin, because they more clearly show that bleeding on one side of Damian’s brain was caused by surgical incisions, not necessarily blunt-force trauma, the judge said. The information suggests Damian may have suffered only one blow instead of two, raising the possibility of a fall instead of an intentional act.
Source: Judge orders new trial for man in 2-year-old’s death 1 Nov 2015.
In December 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the judge’s decision. The county prosecutor’s office planned to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. In October 2017, the Michigan Supreme Court endorsed the decision.