The medical examiner whose testimony was at the center of DuPage County post-trial proceedings on whether convicted murderer Randy Liebich should be granted a new trial told Injustice Watch on Thursday that she is concerned the investigation into the death of toddler Steven Quinn was inadequate.
Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan said during a telephone interview, “I’m not sure how much investigation really even happened when everybody was so focused on ‘oh my gosh there’s a head trauma.’”
Her testimony in hearings last July have prompted a contentious debate on whether the examiner, who testified for the prosecution at the original trial, stood by her assessment that was used against Liebich. Mileusnic-Polchan said that she stands by her autopsy report that the toddler’s death was caused by traumatic injuries to his abdomen and head. But she said Thursday the new medical information she was provided with after the trial changed her opinion of the timing and the flavor of the case.
She said her renewed review of the medical evidence showed that the child had been abused repeatedly, but that the head trauma was minor and had little bearing. The abdominal injuries, which she said are the crux of the case, took days to manifest.
“By the time the whole thing really clears up to the point of [Steven] becoming unresponsive,” Mileusnic-Polchan said, “I really doubt the last person with the child was the perpetrator.”
Liebich was convicted of murdering two-year-old Steven after a 2004 trial and sentenced to 65 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Liebich was alone watching the child when he became unresponsive. After being brought to the hospital, doctors quickly suspected abuse and severe head trauma.
She said that “the timing is a big issue and the fact that there was previous trauma makes me very, very doubtful that things were really explained to all the parties the right way from the beginning.”
John J. Kinsella, the judge presiding over the post-trial proceedings, is expected to rule Friday.