Computer expert said card containing evidence was intentionally destroyed

Video on the damaged computer card was not recoverable, expert said

A computer expert testified today that he was shown a card which supposedly contained video evidence, and he concluded, “It had been destroyed intentionally.”

Darrell Wade told a jury this morning, “I am a data recovery specialist.” He has worked for a San Diego company for six years, recovering information from computer systems for law enforcement and other clients. Wade said he was given a card and adaptor from which to recover video evidence for a case against Michael Dale Garritson, a Registered Nurse who is accused of abusing an autistic man in his care.

The computer expert held up little parts for the jury to see and said, “This is the adaptor that the card goes into, that has been destroyed.” He pulled more tiny pieces out of a plastic evidence bag, and said, “It’s in pieces, and some of the pieces are missing.”

“It appeared to me that someone physically pulled it apart.” Darrell Wade also noted burn marks on one edge of the card, and said it was odd there were no burn marks on the adaptor. He said he was not able to recover any data from the compromised card.

Defense attorney Michael Washington has suggested that the woman who is accusing the nurse of abuse, Mrs. Kim Oakley, intentionally destroyed the evidence. Defense has recovered at least one video from Mrs. Oakley’s computer, which appeared to show her teenaged son putting his autistic brother in a choke hold. While she was in the witness box, Mrs. Oakley did confirm that her teenaged son was paid to be a caregiver for his older brother, 23-year-old James.

The jury has seen many short video clips, tightly edited and each less than one minute, which show defendant Michael Garriston with his patient James. Prosecutors claim the videos show rough handling, even eye-gouging and hair-pulling and arm twisting. Defense claims the video clips prove gentle handling of a patient who everyone agrees is unusually strong. All witnesses agree that the “severely autistic” patient will hurt himself if not prevented from doing so.

Sixty-two-year-old Michael Dale Garritson was one of seven caregivers for the 23-year-old patient at the Oakley family home in Valley Center, while his mother was in Europe for a month last summer. The two men are about equal in height, although the older man is much stockier. Garritson pleads not guilty to seven felony counts of abuse.

The jury began hearing evidence Monday morning, April 8, 2013, and is expected to get the case to deliberate late next week, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.

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This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

This doesn't look good for the prosecution at all. In fact, the DA could move for a dismissal of the charges. But that probably won't happen, and would be most embarrassing.

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