Doctor discusses 16-month-old baby's "devastating" injuries

TAMPA - The second day of Dwayne Poole’s murder trial Tuesday featured a St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital doctor who testified the fatal injuries Poole is accused of giving his 16-month-old son were immediately apparent.

"I thought he would die," said Carl Riggs, an emergency room physician. "I didn't think there was any chance he would survive."  

Poole, 25, is accused of killing his son, Ronderique Anderson, in February 2011. He initially said the boy hurt himself falling down a set of stairs.

Tonya Myers, Poole’s former girlfriend, testified that Anderson was a happy child who followed his father everywhere. She called 911 after learning the child had been injured.

By the time EMS arrived and saw the condition of the child, an aggravated child abuse investigation had begun.

When doctors saw him in the ICU of St. Joseph's, they knew the situation was dire.

Riggs was the physician who made the final call that the child could not be saved. He was shaken by the injuries he saw. The damage to the child’s nervous system left the boy only able to take occasional gasping breaths.

Poole, who had a history of battery arrests, later changed his story, admitting he hit the child and threw him on the bed. The boy, he said, bounced and hit a dresser. The doctor said the injuries were more consistent with that description.

“We just couldn't justify that with somebody who's tumbling down a flight of stairs," he said.

The case could be in the jury’s hands this week.

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