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Bronx judge to hear engineer explain how mentally ill woman could use baseball bat to kill cop

The New York Daily News - 2/7/2018

Feb. 06--A Bronx judge agreed Tuesday to hear expert testimony on whether a 66-year-old mentally ill woman could have killed Sgt. Hugh Barry with a swing of her baseball bat.

A biomechanical engineer can testify about testing that defense lawyers assert will prove Barry's life was in danger before he fired two fatal shots at schizophrenic Deborah Danner, ruled Judge Robert Neary.

According to defense attorney Andrew Quinn, the study documents the impact of blows on crash test dummies produced by women of the same age brandishing the same 32-inch bat as Danner did.

"(This object) is more than enough to crack the skull," Quinn said on the fifth day of the murder trial. "Had Ms. Danner took that swing ... she would have fractured (Barry's) skull."

Neary must decide in the bench trial whether Barry's gunshots were justified or the veteran sergeant erred during the Oct. 18, 2016, confrontation in Danner's Bronx bedroom.

Proscutors charge Barry ignored his training on the evening of his fatal encounter with Danner.

In day two of his testimony, Officer Camilo Rosario -- the cop closest to the sergeant when the bullets were fired -- recalled Tuesday how Danner drew the bat over her shoulder when Barry entered her bedroom.

"Drop the bat! Ma'am, please, drop it!" Rosario recalled Barry yelling to Danner as he demonstrated the arc of the baseball bat for a second time in front of a Bronx courtroom.

The demonstration used the same bat clutched on the night of the shooting by the mentally ill woman. On cross examination, Rosario said he believed she was going to swing the bat at his superior.

Assistant District Attorney Newton Mendys unsuccessfully argued that the night's events could not be replicated in a study.

"Swinging a bat ... in a lab setting is very different than what transpired Oct. 18," he said. "The study itself is flawed inherently by virtue of the fact that Ms. Danner wasn't able to participate in it."

Quinn argued that prosecutors, in their opening statement, alleged a baseball bat is not a lethal weapon when wielded by a 66-year-old woman.

This study, he insisted, would prove otherwise.


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