Walter Mencken 4 p.m., Dec. 14
Teenager explained taking hold of his autistic brother in trial today
A different paid caregiver is facing felony abuse charges in San Diego Superior Court
The teenaged brother of an autistic man was called as a defense witness today, in the trial of a 62-year-old registered nurse accused of abusing his patient.
Michael Oakley said he is 19 years old and has been a paid caregiver for his 23-year-old brother Jamey for more than a year. Michael Oakley was shown a video clip of himself taking hold of his retarded, autistic, and epileptic half-brother and escorting him out of camera range.
In a rambling explanation which included Ju-jitsu technique, Michael Oakley said he put his arm across his brother’s chest “for support.” In response to attorneys’ questions, the teenager reassured, “It was never my intention to choke him.” Other persons who saw the video during trial described Michael Oakley’s hold on his brother as a “choke-hold.”
This video clip was captured last summer, when Michael Oakley was one of seven paid caregivers for his brother Jamey, while their mother was in Europe for a month. A new video camera was installed in the autistic man’s bedroom shortly before Mrs. Oakley left.
Mrs. Kim Oakley, mother of both Michael and Jamey, was asked earlier in the trial to describe what Michael was doing in the video, and she said: “He’s definitely in the process of trying to control his brother.” Mrs. Oakley said her son Mike has no formal training as a nurse or caregiver, although today Michael told the jury, “I took an EMT course at Palomar College.”
The strong-arm technique clearly seen in that one video is in stark contrast with video clips used as evidence by a prosecutor in a case against a different caregiver, 62-year-old Michael Dale Garritson. Garritson, who has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years, is on trial now, charged with seven felonies. Michael Oakley is not facing any charges.
Mrs. Kim Oakley contacted authorities after she returned home August 22, 2012, she accused Garritson and one other caregiver of abusing her autistic son. In very short clips, Mrs. Garritson told a jury that she could “clearly” see Garritson “hair-pulling” and “slam-to-the-ground” and “shove” her son Jamey. However, some observers in the courtroom were heard wondering aloud as to what could actually be seen in the grainy clips.
Mrs. Oakley gave certain video clips as evidence to investigators, but the video clip of her son Michael taking hold of brother Jamey was recovered from a “recycle” folder on her laptop, after it was taken by a law enforcement computer expert.
Defense is expected to finish their case sometime tomorrow, April 17, 2013, before Judge Blaine K. Bowman, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.