Jeffrey Havard Convicted of Horrific Crime — But Is He Really Guilty?

The future is unknown for inmate L3955, Jeffery Havard. Havard has endured Death Row for the last ten years in Mississippi and time is running out. What really happened on the night of Feb. 21 2002?

According to Havard, on Feb. 21 Havard was giving his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt, a bath after she had spit up on herself. As Havard picked baby Chloe up out of the bathtub, she wiggled out of Havard’s arms and struck her head on the toilet.

Havard claimed that Chloe seemed to be unhurt and put her to bed. Her mother, Rebecca Britt, found Chloe later that night blue and struggling for breath. Chloe was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead later that night.

The cause of death was determined through an autopsy conducted by Steven Hayne, a self reported expert on sexual assault. Hayne determined that the cause of death was Shaken Baby Syndrome, which is a severe head trauma that appears after shaking a baby violently. It was also concluded that her anus had minor damage and dilation that usually is consistent with sexual assault. Hospital staff also reported that there was minor damage and dilation to Chole’s anus.

The combination of these reports ultimately convinced the court to find Havard guilty for the murder and sexual assault of six-month-old Chloe. Resulting in a capital murder charge punishable by death.

This is where the case becomes much more complicated, and many of the facets of the case become much too convoluted and difficult for a jury to pass judgment on.

Initially, Chloe’s mother testified that Havard never changed Chloe’s diapers, bathed her, or cared to spend anytime with her at all. Following the conclusion of the trial, she changed her testimony by stating that in fact, Havard loved Chloe and had always changed her diapers, bathed her, and fed her.

Furthermore, and more importantly to Havard’s innocence, during the trial, Havard asked the court to allow an independent expert to make an educated statement based on the results that he had found. The court denied this request, stating that Steven Haynes, the doctor who conducted the first autopsy, expert opinion was sufficient enough for this case.

As of today, Steven Hayne is no longer allowed to perform autopsies or testimonies in the Mississippi Jurisdiction. It has been proven that Hayne on several different occasions spread false information.

After Havard’s death sentenced was pronounced, several independent medical examiners reviewed the results and found that much of the information conveyed to the court was indeed false.

Dr. James Lauridson, a medical examiner from Alabama, and Physician Dr. Michael Baden, both concluded that the autopsy results were untrue.

In fact:

  1. The dilation of the anus by 1cm is a common resulting cause of trauma to the head.
  2. The anus damage was most likely not caused by a sexual act, rather from an insertion of a thermometer into the anus while in the care of nurses in the hospital. Often, when dealing with infants, nurses are directed to insert a thermometer 1 cm into the infant’s anus, to conduct an accurate temperature reading.
  3. Chloe’s head trauma matched Havard’s story about Chloe hitting her head on the toilet.
  4. No forensic DNA had been found around or inside Chloe’s anus.

All findings after the decision on Havard’s case have been ignored and denied by the Mississippi Supreme Court.  The objection by the Mississippi Courts to review renewed testimonies and overruling evidence has made it impossible for Havard to escape death row.

Even with public outcry over this case, The Mississippi Supreme Court continues to deny Jeffrey Havard the justice that he deserves. Havard recently communicated to the public through a jailhouse phone interview on BlogTalkRadio in which Jeffrey admits that a day does not go by that he does not think about Chloe and how his negligence of dropping her, forfeited her life, but he will refuse to stop attempting to reach out to the public and explain what really happened the night of Feb. 21st.

Until that time, the clock is ticking. Jeffrey Havard sits on death row as inmate L3955 with thousands of supporters though Free Jeffrey Havard , Change.org, TheSilentVoices, and many others.

 

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8 Responses to “Jeffrey Havard Convicted of Horrific Crime — But Is He Really Guilty?”

  • Steve, thank you for writing about this very important case. There is no stronger case for innocence than Jeffrey’s.

    • Thank you for your work, Bruce, and helping everyone learn about this insane case. it is disturbing to think this man might face the ultimate punishment in light of such unreliable evidence

  • Jim Lovering:

    I’m glad to see you blogging on this case, Steve.

    The crime for which Jeffrey was convicted never happened. The overarching reason why he was charged was a medical artifact – grotesque anal dilation resulting from brain damage, which hospital staff and police misread as evidence of sexual assault. They weren’t the first to make this mistake. A clinical study of deaths in children was undertaken to clarify whether anal dilation indicates sexual abuse. The finding was that anal dilation is common in accidental deaths and has no connection to sexual abuse.

    Bruce Fischer, who posted above, has put together a website with comprehensive information about this case:

    http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org

    The site archive includes the clinical study I mentioned above:

    http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/10512018328___April_10__2009_.pdf

  • Thanks for coming by Jim, and thanks for the info. I remember your work on other cases, and it is good to see you are active on this matter too.

  • Lynda Barnett:

    Thank you Steve Graham for helping bring the attention needed to Jeffrey’s case in order to free an innocent man from Mississippi’s death row.

  • Thank you Steve Graham for your article and support for my son Jeffrey. We appreciate ALL the support that he gets,it is so amazing at the support and attention his case has gotten and continues to recieve. Again Thanks to you for the article.

  • Thank you Cheryl. The comment took a few days to moderate because my blog was down for a while. Thanks for coming by. I can’t imagine what your family is going through with the way your state has treated your son. However, the cases certainly seems to be gathering more and more attention!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR….
Photo of Steve Graham Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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