SHERIDAN — Day two of Robert Swett’s aggravated child abuse trial featured three witnesses from the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver, Sheridan Police Department detective Dan Keller, two inmates who roomed with Swett and a detention officer from the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office.
One final witness from prosecution took the stand this morning at 9 a.m., after the judge denied a mistrial suggested by the defense.
Deputy County and Prosecuting Attorney Darci Phillips again focused on questions pertaining to Swett’s demeanor and interactions with the child while the nearly 6-month-old was receiving medical attention at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
A nurse and two social workers from the hospital in Denver worked with Swett and the child during their stay.
All said Swett remained concerned about his own needs first and foremost and continued to focus on his child’s feeding problems as the primary concern for the hospital trip from Sheridan to Denver, rather than the brain bleeding and other head injuries the child sustained.
Each witness recalled Swett’s story of how the child was injured consistently.
The concern of hospital staff was that Swett remained adamant about relaying his side of the story as well as the child’s feeding concerns rather than the head injuries. The social workers said Swett downplayed his child’s head injuries.
During the child’s stay at the hospital, a one-on-one sitter was assigned to the child and his father’s room because of staff concerns based on the observed child and parent interactions. Typically sitters are assigned to rooms where children are at risk of harming themselves or need constant attention for bonding reasons. Hospitals don’t typically assign sitters when a parent is present with the child.
Keller described Swett, after interviewing him two times, as argumentative. Snippets of video recordings from SPD interviews shown to the jury showed Swett explaining the incident to Keller. Keller also says in the interviews he didn’t think there was retinal hemorrhaging or a skull fracture sustained because of the incident.
Three witnesses Tuesday testified to an incident that occurred while Swett was detained at the Sheridan County Detention Center. Two individuals held at the detention center described Swett fighting and threatening one of them. Defense attorney Erin Wardell, though, noted a discrepancy between their testimony and their written statements.
The detention officer with SCSO who interviewed the two witnesses and Swett after the altercation said Swett said it the alleged victim initiated the fight, and that the alleged victim accidentally fell down and that’s what caused the bruising and scrapes he sustained.
Wardell, following the detention officer’s testimony, brought a possible mistrial to Judge John Fenn, as it was revealed to the jury that Swett is currently incarcerated at the Sheridan County Detention Center. Fenn struck the question and answer that revealed that fact from the record in the presence of the jury immediately following the question.
Fenn denied the motion for a mistrial.