From the October 2004 Idaho Observer:
Yurko wins battle in Florida; outcome of war undetermined
For two weeks I described the result of Alan Yurko’s week-long evidentiary hearing at the best day of my journalistic life: A man whose innocence we have been reporting for over three years was set free after serving nearly seven years of a life sentence. Then I was forced to realize that the system will stoop to any tactic, no matter how low, to maintain the upper hand. ORLANDO, Fla.—Florida District Judge C. Alan Lawson ordered that Alan Yurko be granted a new trial, finding just cause on five of 19 counts—any one of which would have been sufficient to warrant a new trial.
Rather than await a new trial, Yurko pled to manslaughter and was released August 27, 2004, after spending nearly seven years in prison.
Pleading to manslaughter at 5:30 p.m. on Friday was the best deal for all parties. Though Yurko claims he did not harm a hair on his baby’s head, he accepted a certain amount of culpability in his son’s death. Like all parents, Yurko was responsible for his son’s health. Had he done the research, he would have known that vaccines should not be given to a sick child. As Baby Alan’s father, he should never have allowed his sick baby to be vaccinated.
Had Yurko not accepted the plea, the prosecution would have appealed and the new trial could have been pushed back as far as three more years. Instead, Yurko was out and free of the Florida corrections system by 8:30 p.m. August 27.
The Yurko family reconciliation lasted only 13 days. On Sept. 7, 2004, Florida police conducted an early morning raid on Yurko’s home and put him back into custody per a request from the Ohio State Parole Board.
Yurko has not been heard from since leaving Florida in the custody of Ohio on Sept. 14.
Yurko admits to having made some rather serious (yet non-violent) mistakes as a teenager that resulted in a prison conviction. After early release, he had completed all but two months of parole when life put him in a damned-if you-do-damned-if you-don’t position. When his parole officer would not allow him to travel to Florida, Yurko decided to go anyway.
The entire weeklong hearing was taped by the local TV news media. We suspect that the tape was later forwarded to pharmaceutical industry lawyers as a training film. A camera crew for alternative health activist Gary Null also taped the hearing.
For the defense: Yurko was convicted of shaking his baby to death in 1996 and sentenced to spend life plus 10 years in prison. Since trial, Yurko and his ever-expanding team of expert and laypeople supporters from all over the world have discovered numerous pieces of evidence pointing to his innocence.
After years of preparation, Yurko returned to court August 23, 2004, for a hearing to determine if new evidence warrants a new trial. Day 1 got off to a bad start when Yurko’s first witness, Dr. Archie Kalokerinos’ testimony was deemed "inadmissible" because his knowledge and observations were "not generally accepted" by the medical community.
Dr. Kalokerinos testified that half the Australian aboriginal children he vaccinated in the late 60s, early 70s died until he began giving them high doses of vitamin C. His method was not "generally accepted" in Australia because, apparently, killing aboriginal children was the Australian government’s intent with its vaccination program.
From that point onward, however, it was a wonderful performance on the part of the Yurko Project. Each witness came out, testified excellently and held up under cross-examination.
For those who have access to the Internet, please go to www.vaclib.org and see the daily hearing updates. For those who do not have Internet access and want to see what happened each day of the hearing, send a SASE to the IO and we will send them to you.
The pattern that developed was Yurko’s expert witnesses would come out, be accepted as experts by the court, testify as to their knowledge of medicine, their experiences and their opinion as to what happened. With minor variations, they all agreed that Baby Alan was a sickly boy who should never have been vaccinated. The difficult nature of the pregnancy, his medical history after birth, the symptoms that caused Yurko to rush his baby to the hospital and the symptoms that were discovered/developed while in the hospital can all be explained by vaccine damage and medical malpractice. Conversely, those same things cannot be explained by shaking.
The prosecution’s only rebuttal was to challenge the defense witness’ specific experience and ask, repeatedly, "Is what you are saying generally accepted in the medical community?"
By the time the defense rested halfway through Day 3, Drs. Kalokerinos, Bush, Orient, Gardner, Buttram, Nelson, Weiner, and Yazbak had testified. In the process, it was proven that the autopsy report used to convict Yurko was so full of errors and the medical examiner who prepared it so thoroughly discredited that the state would not be using it as evidence in a new trial.
It was also determined that hospital physicians did not inquire about Baby Alan’s medical history or talk to either of his parents before diagnosing the shaken baby syndrome symptoms that led to Yurko’s arrest and conviction.
The most sinister part of this ordeal is how the hospital kept Baby Alan alive for 2 1/2 days after "brain death" had been declared so his heart, liver and intestines could be harvested.
For the prosecution: One of the claims made by the Yurko Project was "ineffective assistance of counsel. Yurko was defended by the Orange County Public Defender’s Office. The former director of that office, William Derosher, testified for the defense that his office did provide ineffective counsel.
The actual attorney, Junior Barrett, was called by the prosecution and he testified that he did the best he could under the circumstances. (Of the five counts upon which Yurko was granted relief, ineffective assistance of counsel was not one of them).
The prosecution’s next witness was Dr. Stephen Siebel, who was called in by Child Protective Services to diagnose SBS. Siebel still believes that all Baby Alan’s injuries were inflicted by Yurko because the symptoms are "generally accepted" as "classic SBS."
Dr. Siebel never looked at Baby Alan’s medical records or questioned the parents in a meaningful way. His "generally accepted" beliefs did not fare too well under cross-examination.
Dr. Ben Gueddes, the attending emergency room physician took the stand next. He immediately determined that Baby Alan’s condition was terminal, yet ordered three blood transfusions and administration of heparin—a blood thinner. Dr. Gueddes denies that Baby Alan was kept alive for organ harvest.
The prosecution’s last witness was Pediatrician John Tilelli. He was a well-prepared, well-spoken, smiling and happy professional pharmaceutical industry hired gun. His conclusion was that, "There is no scientific or reasonable opinion that could allow us to draw the conclusion that vaccines caused [Baby Alan’s] arrest."
Because the incident occurred 11 days after being vaccinated and the "generally-accepted" belief is that vaccine reactions always occur within 72 hours, the vaccines cannot be blamed for Baby Alan’s death.
Closing arguments were made for each point of the motion for a new trial. Judge Lawson recessed the court at 3:20 p.m. and said he will either render an oral decision that day or submit a written decision at a later time.
Judge Lawson returned at 3:35 and stated that he granted relief in favor of Yurko on five counts.
Court was again recessed. When court came back into session at 5 p.m., the plea agreement, which came as a complete surprise to everyone, was on the table and then formally accepted by both the defendant and the prosecution.
Court adjourned at 5:30 p.m. Happily dazed supporters and news media made their way to the Orange County jail to await Yurko’s release which was accomplished by 8:30 p.m. (which is probably some kind of record).
After a news conference, Yurko and his wife Fran found some French fries (a delicacy he had been craving while in prison), then made their way to the hotel where Dr. Kalokerinos was making a presentation.
I commented to Alan, after giving him a hug after all these years, "This is the best day of my journalistic life."
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