Defense attorneys seek trial delay to hire unique expert

2013-02-18T14:38:00Z 2013-02-18T14:55:13Z Defense attorneys seek trial delay to hire unique expertKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 18, 2013 2:38 pm  • 

Donna Rose Smith is scheduled to go to trial March 5 on charges alleging she caused her 18-month-old son's fatal drug overdose. Her attorneys will be in court tomorrow asking for a delay.

Walt Palser and Sarah Bullard notified Judge Javier Chon-Lopez earlier this month they've come to the conclusion they need a pediatric forensic pathologist to testify during Smith's trial.

Unfortunately, there are only five in the country and none of them are available around March 5, they said.

Judge Chon-Lopez will hear oral arguments on the matter tomorrow.

Last February, Oro Valley police got a call about a baby who wasn't breathing and when they arrived, they found Patrick Michael Smith unresponsive.

Officers began CPR, and Patrick was taken to an Oro Valley hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Smith, 21, told police she was a recovering heroin addict.

She also said she gave her son Infants' Tylenol at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 5 and put him down for a nap. When she went to check on him at 6:40 p.m., Smith said she found her son cold, blue and not breathing.

Eighteen days later, Smith, with her attorney present, told detectives "she accidentally spilled her methadone dose" on the night of Feb. 4 on the nightstand and carpet in her room. Smith said she did not think her son had any contact with the drug; however, she kept him awake until 11 p.m.

Smith said her son acted and slept fine, and the following day she gave him Tylenol and placed him in his crib.

An autopsy on Patrick showed methadone in his blood and a fatal amount in his urine.

Methadone was also found in a medicine dispenser seized from the house, according to court documents.

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