New trial begins in shaken baby case

leo ackley web gfx

Leo Ackley left, Baylee Stenman right.

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Testimony began Tuesday in a new trial for a man once convicted of killing his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter.

Leo Ackley was convicted of shaking Baylee Stenman but the Michigan Supreme Court ordered a new trial for him on the grounds that he wasn’t properly defended in the first trial.

Ackley said that Baylee  died in 2011 from injuries after she fell out of bed. He claims he found her lifeless next to her bed after a nap.

Ackley’s sister Brittany Lake testified that Ackley came to her house with Baylee in his arms, and they sped to the hospital but pulled over when Baylee began foaming at the mouth. Rescue crews were called and tried to revive Baylee using CPR.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Ackley’s rights were violated because his original attorney did a poor job in defending him.

The University of Michigan Law School received a federal grant to challenge so-called “shaken baby convictions,” including Ackley’s case.

The University of Michigan Innocence Clinic believes that Ackley and two others have been wrongly convicted in shaken baby cases.

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  • steve thomas

    How about taking this guy down to Home Depot and put his head in the paint shaker and turn it on for a few minutes. In that time, the two brain cells that he has in his head might collide and he’ll figure out what a sick bastard he truly is. After that attention getter, just let the court proceedings begin.

    • Matt Eckman

      Steven Thomas: Since 1989, 344 people who were convicted “beyond a reasonable doubt” have been exonerated by DNA evidence proving they were not guilty. Forty-six percent of those DNA exhortations involved misapplication of forensic science in their original trials and appeals. Our legal system has a serious problem with forensic science application and this government report admits to it, calling for “urgent attention” to examine the scientific validity of evidence used in Shaken Baby Syndrome cases. See: I wish we lived in a perfect world where everyone always received a fair trial all the time, but this is not reality. The traditional diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome is now a hotly disputed science. The Michigan Supreme Court wisely sent this case back for re-trial believing that juries should hear both sides of the argument, not just one side.