State Police Detective Testifies At DCF Employee's Manslaughter Trial

Relates to:
Date: 2010-03-03

By JENNA CARLESSO, The Hartford CourantVERNON — — Suzanne Listro didn't seem surprised when police turned up at her door with a warrant for her arrest in July 2008, a state police detective testified Wednesday during Listro's trial in Superior Court in Rockville.

Listro, who had been crying when foster child Michael Brown Jr. was taken from her home unresponsive two months earlier, appeared "indifferent — not angry, not sad," said Det. David Lamoureux.

"She was cooperative, but she didn't seem surprised," he said.

Listro, who is charged with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a child, had been working for the state Department of Children and Families at the time of 7-month-old Michael's death. She told police the infant was lying on his back on her bed when she got up to turn off the television and heard "a thud." The baby had fallen off the edge of the bed onto the floor, she told officers, and when she picked him up, he cried for a few seconds, then closed his eyes and went limp.

But her account sharply contradicts what was written in the state medical examiner's report after an autopsy, Lamoureux said. According to authorities, Michael's head injuries were not consistent with a 2-foot fall from the bed to the floor.

"I asked her, 'Tell me what really happened,'" Lamoureux said. Listro has repeatedly denied harming the baby.

Ronald Gross, an associate director at Hartford Hospital who examined Michael just before he was pronounced dead on May 19, 2008, testified that the baby had suffered trauma that caused bleeding inside his head. When asked by a prosecutor if he has ever seen a child with such massive head trauma resulting from a 2-foot fall, he said, "I have not."

Gross said no bruises, grip marks or contusions were found on the infant.

One of Listro's attorneys, Hope Seeley of Hartford, pointed out that Lamoureux and other officers didn't apply for a search warrant to check for vomit in the kitchen of Listro's Mansfield home. Listro told police she had carried Michael into the kitchen so she could call 911 after he became unresponsive. While dialing authorities, Listro said, she performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the infant and he began to spit up. No vomit was ever found.

Asked if the presence of vomit would indicate that the death had been accidental, Lamoureux replied "No."

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