WKNDTV City News

Man Who Spent 9 Years In Prison For Killing His Own Son Gets Bail After Evidence Dispute

Wednesday May 2, 2007

He's spent nine years in jail after being convicted of a terrible crime - killing his own baby.

But Marco Trotta was home with his family on Wednesday night, after being granted bail in a Toronto courtroom earlier in the day.

"I'm a little bit...happy, (and) distraught," he admitted upon his release.

His freedom comes as the direct fallout from the Dr. Charles Smith investigation.

He's the former pathologist with the Hospital for Sick Children, who performed dozens of autopsies and testified in a large number of trials where his evidence helped convict an accused.
Marco Trotta
Marco Trotta leaves prison after 9 years

But a subsequent probe has raised many serious questions about at least 20 of those cases, and resulted in either the release of the accused or a review of their convictions.

Trotta was one of those unlucky prisoners who fell under Dr. Smith's purview and he's paid for it with nearly a decade of his life, all the while swearing his innocence.

At first, his son Paulo's passing was attributed to SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

But after Smith had a second look, he found evidence that implicated Trotta and his wife.

She was convicted and released after serving a five-year sentence, but her husband was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1998 and has been there ever since. He's now 38.

He will be freed on $100,000 bail at least until October, when his case goes all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

His wife, Anisa Trotter, watched in tears as the judge granted her long absent spouse his freedom, calling the past few years "torture" in which she first lost her son and then her husband.

The latter will at least be coming home, and she claims she can't wait to have him back.

"I'm just happy to bring Marco home," she said. "The sooner the better. It took too long."

"I've been blessed with a lot of strong friends who've helped us through this. They have been few and far between but I do have some true friends who have been there for us."

"I have champagne waiting," she laughs. "First step on a long journey."

Defence lawyer Michael Lomer said his client has gone through hell.

"He's serving a life sentence for the murder of his child -- I can't tell you any more than that," Lomer said.

"Levels of suffering are like degrees in Dante's "Inferno." How do you describe them if you're not there?

"We have a lot more information than we had at the time this appeal was argued."

"It's a real relief to have the true set of facts come out," the attorney adds.

The province has now called an inquiry into Smith's work. Several others have also been released after questions were raised about his findings in 20 of 45 child autopsies he performed after 1991.

Criminal convictions resulted in 12 of the 20 cases.

Among the most famous: Sudbury native William Mullins-Johnson, who spent a dozen years in prison for supposedly strangling his 12-year-old niece.

Louise Reynolds spent nearly two years in jail awaiting trial for stabbing her 7-year-old daughter with scissors, a crime that was later attributed to dog bites.

And then there's Sherry Sherret, who wound up behind bars for the death of her 4-month-old baby Joshua in 1996.

Smith ruled the infant was the victim of a skull fracture. But other pathologists who have taken a second look at the case believe the boy accidentally suffocated on his bedding.

The Attorney General has agreed to help expedite appeals so all those wrongly accused and convicted can have a new day in court and finally clear their names.

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