Bostian takes stands in own defense in final day of trial
On the third day of trial, the defense began day two of their testimony. Defense attorney Sara Hartness called Jackey M. Bostian, 27, of Monticello who was charged with first degree murder and first degree battery in the 2011 death of his son, Ridley Bostian, an 8-week-old infant – to take the stand in his own defense.
Hartness started with the news that Bostian and his wife was going to have a baby. Bostian said the pregnancy was planned, and the couple were happy to be welcoming their first child into the world.
“I was estatic. She was happy,” Bostian described the news of the baby to the jury. “I went to every doctor’s visit. I wanted to be there. I did miss one visit, but I went there briefly. This was my first baby. I wanted to be there.”
Bostian testified that it was decided early on that his ex-wife, Jessica Morris, would have a cesarean section because of anxiety issues. Bostian said doctor’s tried to give his wife an epidural, but her anxiety issue made it impossible to get the procedure done. Morris had to be put under general anesthesia for the birth of their son.
Bostian described Morris’ anxiety problems as “an every other day occurrence” after they were married. But, he was unaware of her illness while they were dating.
“While we were dating, it never was an issue. I didn’t even know she had an anxiety problem until we were engaged,” Bostian said.
Bostian said Morris used her panic attacks as a way to get whatever she wanted from everyone including him.
“Say if I wouldn’t want to go out and meet with her family, she’d have a panic attack,” he said on the stand.
While he knew his wife used her medical condition to control him, Bostian testified that they were happy. However, he did notice that Morris was depressed a lot towards the end of her pregnancy.
Even though Bostian had just changed jobs prior to Ridley’s birth, he planned to take two weeks off from work to be with his family. He said he helped with the baby and Morris who was recovering from a major surgery.
When it came time for his wife to return to school, Bostian said he wanted her to stay home with the baby so she could be with him and continue to recover from her surgery.
“I wanted her to take the semester off but later she decided to go back so I supported that,” Bostian said.
Hartness moved to the night Ridley fell off the couch. Bostian said everyone had it wrong. It did not occur the night of Morris’ brother’s basketball game and party. It happened the night before while she was at school, on Jan. 31.
“I was changing his and I realized I didn’t have the wipes so I left to grab them,” Bostian said. “Then I heard noise and when I turned to look, he was on the floor.”
Bostian said he immediately collected the baby off the floor and began soothe him. Ridley immediately quieted and seemed fine.
Bostian said he didn’t tell Morris because he was find and he knew she’d get mad about the incident even though the baby was fine.
Bostian said Feb. 1 brought another issue. Morris wanted to take the baby to the basketball game for her brother, like she had done once before.
“I objected because I didn’t want people coming into contact with Ridley because he had not had his two month shots,” Bostian said. “Everyone told us to keep him in.”
Since she wanted to take Ridley to the game, Bostian said he decided to bring Ridley to her parents’ house instead so they could see him after the game.
“I didn’t know there was going to be a party at the house,” Hartness said. “Suddenly people were coming in, wanting to see the baby. It made me angry.”
Bostian said he felt like the Morris’ were putting Ridley on display without regard to his health. When they got home from the party, Bostian said Morris took the carseat with her to the bedroom and placed it on the bed. He then came into the room, and got the baby and put him to bed in his bassinet.
“He was fine,” Bostian said.
Upon cross examination, Bostian maintained that once he learned about Ridley’s wounds in the hospital, the doctors described it as if the baby had gown through a windshield at 60 miles per hour.
“I knew that fall didn’t cause that kind of injuries,” Bostian said. “He was fine.”
When Feb. 2 rolled around, Bostian said he was set on finding a job that day. He was home with his wife and the baby that morning, typing resumes and filling out applications. He said he didn’t think Ridley needed to go to the doctor because he only had a low-grade temperature.
“That [the 99 degree temperature] was normal for him,” Bostian said. “I didn’t think he needed to go to the doctor. She was mad I wasn’t going to the doctor with her.”
Bostian added that while he didn’t agree that the baby needed to see a doctor, he wasn’t going to keep his wife from taking the baby to the doctor. However, he wasn’t changing his plans to search for employment to go with her either.
Once he found out the baby was very ill and needed to be sent to Children’s Hospital, Bostian said he became worried and went to the hospital.
Bostian testified that Patricia, Morris’ mother, offered to ride in the ambulance with the baby so he could drive Morris to Little Rock.
Bostian also said that Morris was a “nervous wreck” on the way to the hospital, calling her mother to get a status update and biting her nails.
Bostian said he was with Ridley every possible moment. However, he wasn’t present when the spinal tab was done.
“They said most of the time parents didn’t want to be in there,” Bostian said.
Hartness then began to talk to Bostian about the return home on Feb. 6.
Bostian testified that nothing out of the ordinary happened that day. The couple had gotten Ridley from the hospital and took him home. Bostian’s mother brought supper for the couple. However, Bostian said Morris wanted to go to Walmart and she wanted Bostian to go with her. However, Bostian wanted to stay home to relax because they had just spent several days at the hospital.
“We didn’t need to anything,” Bostian said. “We had everything we needed for the night.”
When asked about whether they needed water for the baby’s bottle, Bostian said they could have boiled the baby’s water for this formula that night like they had done before.
Bostian said Feb. 7 was a normal day. They couple was home with Ridley that day until Jessica went to school.
“It was a normal day,” Bostian said. “She went to school. She was going to eat with a friend.”
Bostian said when Morris got home the couple talked. He was sick and decided to take some Nyquil to help him rest.
Bostian testified that the popular cold medicine made him sleep soundly.
“When it kicks in, I’m going to sleep,” Bostian said.
He said shortly after 4 a.m. Morris woke him up in a panic. Ridley was screaming. Morris said he had a fever, and she had to get Tylenol.
Bostian said yelled, “we gotta take him to the hospital!” But it was too late, Morris had already rushed out of the house before he could get the sentence out.
Bostian testified that he got up and worked to console the baby. However, nothing worked. The baby was inconsolable.
“I thought his bottom was hurting so I laid him down on couch to check his diaper,” Bostian said.
That’s when the baby began to have his seizure.
“He stiffened up and started shaking,” Bostian described the baby’s episode. “He let out a sigh and closed his eyes.”
Bostian said he yelled “Ridley wake up.” and yanked him up to wake him.
Bostian said that was his son’s last breath without life support.
Suddenly, Morris reappeared in the home and she ran to help Bostian with their son.
“She called 911 and started CPR,” Bostian said. “She then handed him to me and said to do CPR.”
Bostian said he did the best he could even though he was not certified in CPR. While he was trying to perform CPR, Bostian said Morris left the room and returned a few minutes later. He had no idea why she left, what she did or where she disappeared to because his focus was on the baby.
Hartness asked about their phone cases. Bostian said his phone had a Razorback case and her phone did not have a case on it that night.
When asked where Morris’ phone was, Bostian replied, “it was dead somewhere. I don’t know.”
Back to the events of Feb. 8, Bostian said it took the paramedics about 10 minutes to get to the house, but he said it seemed like forever.
“Jessica was performing CPR, they got Ridley and left,” Bostian said.
He said he and Jessica followed in their vehicle.
Bostian said the hospital put them in a family room at first, but once he was stable, they let the family go back to see him. He said that a nurse was looking for Morris while Bostian was back in the baby’s room because Morris had to sign the baby’s insurance paperwork.
“The nurse said she couldn’t find Jessica but I didn’t go check or to look for her. I stayed with Ridley,” Bostian recalled.
On the way to Little Rock, Bostian said Morris drove and he had passed out on the way.
“I was in shock. This wasn’t really happening,” Bostian said. “I couldn’t believe this was happening.”
When they got to Children’s Hospital, the baby was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
Bostian said he remembered being confused because Dr. Hewitt came into the room to go over the baby’s recent medical history. The doctor said that Ridley had spinal meningitis the week before. But, another doctor came in and said Ridley had not had spinal meningitis and that he was a victim of child abuse.
“That’s when we were concerned about the hospital [releasing him when they shouldn’t have],” Bostian said on the stand.
Bostian continued by saying he and the rest of the family thought Children’s was making up the child abuse to cover their own tracks because they didn’t give Ridley proper medical treatment.
Hartness asked Bostian about an interview with Dr. Jerry Jones and Cathie Mills, a social worker at Children’s.
“They told us Ridley was abused. We were furious at them. They were blaming us for something they did,” Bostian said.
As for Mill’s earlier testimony that Bostian was smiling or smirking during the meeting, Bostian said he was angry at the time because he felt the hospital was trying to say they did something to Ridley to cover their own negligence.
“I get dimples when I’m angry,” Bostian said. “I wasn’t smiling. I can tell you that.”
Bostian said that the social worker did interview him separately from Morris and in the elevator, Jones asked Bostian if he wanted to talk with him privately. Bostian sai he declined to talk to the doctor.
Bostian said the Morris family hired an attorney and Jessica’s father told them not to talk to anyone.
“I didn’t have a problem talking to anyone about this,” Bostian said. “But I was told not to talk to anyone.”
Bostian said a few days later, they learned about the broken bones. And, the more he thought bout it, he wanted to tell his wife he had let his baby fall off the couch.
“She really didn’t seem that upset about it,” Bostian said. “She said I’d have to tell her mom so I did.”
Bostian said that’s when they started pointing their fingers at him, saying he caused Ridley’s injuries.
“I trusted the Morris’ and they told me I killed my son and I believed it,” Bostian said.
He said he was devastated about the possibility that he had ended his child’s life by letting him fall off the couch.
Bostian said he told a doctor in Ridley’s room after he returned to the hospital after leaving the hotel where he told the Morris family about the fall. Bostian said the doctor assured him that fall did not cause Ridley’s injuries.
“I was just in a bad place,” Bostian said. “I didn’t want to live anymore.”
Bostian said he only came to the conclusion that he was not responsible after talking to several close friends. They had talked him into continuing to live and assured him had not done this to his son by letting him fall.
Bostian said he then returned to the hospital to be with his son until after he was removed from life support on Feb. 16, 2011.
Bostian said the the Morris family decided to end life support, but he went along with it because he knew his son was suffering.
Bostian testified that he never thought for a minute that his wife had hurt his child until he started going through case, preparing for trial.
Bostian said his family paid half of the Ridley’s funeral expenses, and wanted to pay half of the cost of the tombstone, but the Morris did not allow that.
Bostian said the grave marker reads Ridley Morris, son of Jessica Morris.
During cross examination, Prosecutor Frank Spain pointed out that Ridley could not sit up, walk, crawl or even roll over. Spain asked how he fell off the couch.
“I could move his arms and legs and I had left him too close to the edge,” Bostian admitted. =
Spain also asked why Bostian didn’t tell anyone the baby was hysterical when Morris left him with Bostian. Bostian said he just didn’t tell anyone.
Spain also questioned the post to Yahoo Answers about Bostian asking about why his wife wasn’t having sex with him.
Bostian said he was just trying to find out if her unwillingness to have sex was normal. He said he took the advice about him being patient with her.
Bostian said Morris bought condoms during her shopping trip to Walmart on Feb. 6 because the couple had talked about trying to have sex that evening.
Bostian said he was not made he was unable to have sex on Feb. 7, which the state claimed was Bostian’s motive for killing Ridley.
Bostian testified that he never touched Ridley’s head in the hospital, only his body when Spain brought up him touching him in the Children’s PICU. He denied looking around to see if anyone was watching.
After Bostian left the stand, Hartness called Dr. James Lauridson to the stand. He was a former chief medical examiner for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. He was declared an expert witness.
Lauridson testified that he agreed with Dr. Charles Kokes’ autopsy report about the baby being abused. However, Lauridson said he felt Kokes was bias because Kokes mentioned the fact that the father was under suspicion in the autopsy report.
“Medical examiners are charged with being a scientists and objective,” Lauridson said. “I have concerns with [Kokes’s] objectivity.”
Lauridson also testified that there is no way to determine when the baby was struck on the head Feb. 8. He could only say it was the early morning hours of Feb. 8.
He said so many variables come into play with head injures such as Ridley’s injuries that it’s impossible to say it happened in an hour of his seizure. It could have been several hours in Lauridson’s opinion.