Jury Selection Set For Matthew Stein
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 30, 2005
MANSFIELD, OHIO--Jury selection was set to begin Thursday in the felony assault and child endangerment trial for Matthew Stein, who is accused of injuring his son's brain by violently shaking him.
Stein could face up to eight years in prison if convicted. He could face a murder charge if 21-month-old Aiden dies.
The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Aiden remains at Akron Children's Hospital where a ventilator helps him to breathe.
Mr. Stein's lawyer, Kenneth Boggs, said he is worried about his client's ability to get a fair trial because of negative publicity, along with an ad campaign last year in which billboards across the state brought much attention to the debate over whether Aiden's ventilator should be removed.
Aiden was admitted to the hospital on March 15, 2004 with injuries that doctors said were consistent with shaken-baby syndrome. The doctors claim that the boy is blind, deaf, and in a persistent vegetative state. They argue that Aiden cannot recover from his injuries and that it would be in his best interest to remove the ventilator that keeps him alive. A court appointed a temporary guardian after doctors argued that Aiden's parents had a conflict of interest because at least one of them could face murder charges if the baby dies.
Aiden's parents argue that the child is alert, responds to them, opens his eyes, holds up his own head, follows sounds, and even sits up. They contend that he will recover further if given more time.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in December that a lower court had no authority to appoint the temporary guardian to decide to end the child's life when the parents' rights had not yet been permanently terminated.
In April, Aiden's father and mother, Arica Heimlich, gave up their custody rights to Mr. Stein's mother. She says she will fight any attempt to remove the boy from his ventilator.
Mr. Stein has repeatedly denied injuring his son.
Cases like Aiden's highlight a growing debate over whether parents or doctors should decide the course of action when a child experiences a significant brain injury.
"Shaken child trial to begin" (Akron Beacon Journal)
"Aiden Stein: Hospital Wants Baby's Life Support Removed" (Inclusion Daily Express)