Last week, jurors found Heather Trask not guilty in the 2006 death of her 6-month-old daughter. Trask had been charged with first degree murder for allowing the child abuse that led to the baby's death.
The baby's father, Jonathan Trask, was convicted of first degree murder in 2008 for causing the injuries that killed his daughter. The prosecution claimed that Heather Trask was also responsible for her daughter's death because she allowed her child to be abused.
However, according to her Oklahoma defense attorney, Trask was unaware that her daughter was being abused and believed the lies her husband told to explain the baby's injuries. After deliberating for six hours, the jury found that there was insufficient evidence to convict Heather Trask of first degree murder.
According to her criminal defense lawyer, the only "evidence" against Trask was the lack of emotion she appeared to show when confronted with the news of her child's death and when questioned by police. Her defense asserted that Trask was in shock, not only from the death of her daughter, but from losing custody of her 18-month-old son only hours after her daughter's death.
The defense team argued that this apparent lack of emotion proved nothing about Trask's knowledge of her husband's abuse of their child. The jury agreed. Domestic violence in Oklahoma is a significant problem for the state. Traditionally, Oklahoma has high rates of child abuse and intimate partner abuse.
However, many Oklahoma domestic violence allegations are false or exaggerated. In 2009, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) investigated 53,394 cases of suspected child abuse; however, only 16% of these investigations confirmed abuse. Domestic violence claims arise from custody disputes and even as vengeance in bad break-ups.
In the case of Heather Trask, she was nearly convicted of murder for believing her husband's excuses for their daughter's injuries. If you are charged with domestic violence in Oklahoma, immediately seek help from an Oklahoma Domestic Violence Lawyer. Your domestic violence defense attorney will work to ensure that exaggerated charges are reduced and that charges stemming from false abuse allegations are dismissed.