CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The third day of Chasity Wodzinski’s trial started with the releasing of the prosecution’s sixth witness and ended with both the prosecution and defense resting their cases.
The sixth witness, who testified for the prosecution at the end of day 2, was ready to be cross-examined by the defense. The defense had nothing to ask, releasing her from the stand.
The prosecution’s seventh witness was Dr. Donald Pojman, a forensic pathologist and Deputy Chief Medical Examiner for the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Dr. Pojman performed the autopsy of five-year-old Keaton Boggs on March 24, 2020. Dr. Pojman noted the extensive bruising on Keaton’s head and face, many of which were “starting to heal”. Dr. Pojman also noted that there was clotted blood on the brain, which is not normal, indicating the injury was relatively new. He also said that the story of the dog pushing Keaton down the stairs did not line up with his findings.
Keaton’s official cause of death was “blunt force injuries of the head”, according to Dr. Pojman. The manner of death was considered “homicide”.
During cross-examination, the defense asked if Dr. Pojman knew the mechanism of death, or how the injuries happened. Dr. Pojman said he did not know. He also noted that he was unsure that the bruising and damage to the extremities of Keaton caused his death.
The eighth witness called by the prosecution was Dr. Brian Policano, a pediatrician for Keaton.
Dr. Policano testified that he met Keaton once during an appointment on Jan. 29, 2020. Other appointments were canceled or Keaton and the family did not show up. Those include:
- Sept. 6, 2019: canceled
- Sept. 13, 2019: no show
- Oct. 17, 2019: no show
- Jan. 3, 2020: no show*
*On Jan. 3, 2020, Wodzinski brought one of her own children to Dr. Policano for an appointment but did not bring Keaton.
During the appointment on Jan. 29, Michelle Boggs and Chasity Wodzinski were present. They expressed concerns of regressive behavior, self-harm and acting out. The appointment also went over the physical findings on Keaton.
At the time, Keaton had several visible markings and injuries.
Boggs and Wodzinski said that the black eye was caused by Keaton hitting himself with a toy hammer. They also said that the scratches were caused by a dog and a fall into a chicken wire fence. Dr. Policano said he believed the reasons given as to the bruises and scrapes on Keaton and did not suspect any home life issues at the time.
Also during this appointment, Wodzinski and Boggs had completed a third-party authorization form, giving Wodzinski the authority to bring Keaton to doctor appointments, cancel appointments or otherwise make medical decisions.
Dr. Policano never had another appointment with Keaton.
During the cross-examination, the defense asked if Wodzinski could have canceled the appointments before Jan. 29 without having the authorization form filled out. Dr. Policano said no.
In addition, it was revealed that the form was not filled out in its entirety. Under the “if not parent, write relationship” portion of the form, indicating where a legal guardian or custodian would identify their relationship to the patient, the space was left blank.
After an afternoon recess, a digital forensic analyst for the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) was called as the ninth witness.
The analyst said she was given three phones, belonging to Peter and Chasity Wodzinski and Michelle Boggs, and performed an extraction of the devices on Jan. 21, 2021.
As the prosecution inquired about information in the extraction report, the defense asked to approach the bench with the prosecution.
The judge ruled for a 10-minute break that quickly turned into nearly two-hour break to work out some “issues”.
The defense then asked for a judgment of acquittal, citing that the prosecution did not bring any witnesses in their argument that proved Chasity Wodzinski did the fatal abuse. The defense also said the prosecution did not prove that Chasity Wodzinski “knowingly allowed” another person to carry out the fatal abuse of Keaton. They claimed Chasity Wodzinski would have to have been present to “knowingly allow” the fatal abuse to occur, and nothing the prosecution presented puts her where Keaton was at the time.
The prosecution counter-argued, saying the law does not specify whether “knowingly allow” is someone needing to be present.
The judge did not rule on the acquittal.
After nearly two hours of waiting, the jury was ushered back into the courtroom, where the prosecution formally rested its case. Chasity Wodzinski decided not to testify, so the defense also rested its case.
The trial will continue on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. with closing arguments, followed by the case going into the hands of the jury.