CHICAGO (CBS) — After “48 Hours” uncovered evidence that casts doubt on the verdict that sent a teacher to prison for the death of a 16-month-old boy, the Lake County Coroner was calling for authorities to reopen the case.
“If you’re going to put somebody in jail for murder, you’d better be absolutely certain of your findings,” the coroner, Dr. Thomas Rudd said Tuesday.
Rudd called the 2011 conviction of Melissa Calusinski, now 27, a miscarriage of justice. He said microscopic evidence showed Benjamin Kingan suffered a head injury.
“No question about it. This needs to be reexamined. This case needs to be reopened. We need to find out what happened to that child,” he said.
His examination of the evidence found Kingan died of a massive head injury suffered weeks before he died.
Rudd, who was elected as Lake County Coroner in 2012, told “48 Hours” he couldn’t believe what he saw after he took a look at the autopsy evidence four years after Calusinski’s conviction. He said it’s obvious the brain injury he suffered was old – one that had been healing for two to three months. He said a minor injury on the day Kingan died exacerbated the old injury, and shut down Kingan’s breathing system.
“The child had an old injury. The body was trying to respond by reabsorbing the blood. Now this child was known to be a head banger, so he kept hitting his head, and most likely kept re-bleeding,” Rudd said.