November 27, 2021

First responders testify

Medical personnel take stand in Bohn murder trial

Photos by Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Murder defendant Dorain Bohn, left, confers with public defender Keith Dayton prior to hearing witness testimony Wednesday at the Cortland County Courthouse.

Kassidy Dains’ body was cold to the touch when first responder Thomas Keller arrived at her home in McGraw last April to try to revive her, he testified Wednesday in Cortland County Court during the trial of the man accused of murdering the 2-year-old.

“If your heart is beating, your body’s warm and it would take a little while for it to get cold,” Keller said.

Keller, a former McGraw Fire Department chief and emergency medical technician, was one of the first responders to the Elm Street residence on April 19, where police said Kassidy died.

Keller said he arrived to find a man, Dorain Bohn, who looked like he was trying to figure out how to do chest compressions.

Bohn, 29, originally from Buffalo, is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, felonies, in Kassidy’s death. He was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

In opening statements, District Attorney Patrick Perfetti said Kassidy died from a massive head injury that would be inconsistent with a fall from a bunk bed, as the defense suggests, and had more than 50 bruises and cuts on her body.

“Not an act of negligence, but child abuse,” Perfetti said. “Not a fall from a bunk bed, but murder.”

Public Defender Keith Dayton said jurors would need to decided whether the injury was caused by an accidental fall off a bunk bed onto a wooden floor or her head being slammed into a wall.

“All children’s deaths are tragic,” he said. “Not all children’s deaths are criminal.”

In his statement to police in April, Bohn said Kassidy had been coloring on the floor of her bedroom while he watched television in the adjoining room. He said he had given the child half a dose of an allergy medicine, an antihistamine. Bohn also told police he had been drinking. Bohn said he heard a thud later at 7:17 p.m. and went to the bedroom to find Kassidy on the floor and assumed she had fallen 5 feet from a bunk bed that had been installed a couple days earlier.

District Attorney Patrick Perfetti, left, submits the April 9, 2018, 911 recording between Dorain Bohn (not shown), and Cortland County dispatcher Travis Collins, right, into evidence Wednesday at the Cortland County Courthouse.

He later told police he did not seek immediate medical treatment and allowed the child to sleep.

Bohn called 911 around 9 p.m., said dispatcher Travis Collins. During the call Collins said he advised Bohn on how to do chest compressions.

“Based upon what you heard in this call were you under the impression this person was administering chest compressions?” asked Elizabeth McGrath, Cortland County chief assistant district attorney.

“No,” Collins replied. He noted someone is usually out of breath after doing compressions.

During cross examination, Dayton asked whether part of the audio recording was cut off, noting the transcript handed out continued beyond what was played.

Collins said it was possible that the recording was cut off somehow.

In the transcript Dayton pointed out that Bohn said he was still giving compressions.

“Yup just keep doing chest compressions,” Collins replied in the recording.

“That’s all I’m doing the ambulance is here now,” Bohn said.

When first responders arrived, they began chest compressions and giving Kassidy air as they searched for a heartbeat.

Both Keller and McGraw Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Davis testified for the prosecution that they were not able to get a heartbeat.

Cortland County sheriff’s officers arrived at the residence while first responders were working on Kassidy.

“She looked very grayish-blue,” Sgt. Paul Knapp responded to McGrath. “She looked like she hadn’t been breathing for awhile.”

Testimony continued today.