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Shaken baby abuse trial opens with dad testifying against mom, Sherry Bossick

DADE CITY — Five-week-old Tyler Lydic started whimpering, went limp and felt cold to the touch. Within hours, doctors would conclude he had been shaken violently and suffered serious brain damage.

Investigators would later conclude the abuse happened at the hands of his mother.

Sherry Beth Bossick went to trial Tuesday on a charge of aggravated child abuse in the June 4, 2005, incident.

She was living with her fiance, Thomas Lydic, and their newborn sons, twins Tyler and Cody, in a mobile home in Wesley Chapel. Lydic got up early to go to work at his construction job that morning. Bossick was left at home to watch the babies.

When he returned that afternoon, Lydic testified Tuesday, the twins were sleeping. Bossick left to go shopping at Wal-Mart.

Soon, Lydic noticed something wasn't right with Tyler. He whimpered, became unresponsive and his body felt cold. Lydic said he gave his son a warm bath to try to warm him up, put him in pajamas and wrapped him in a blanket.

When the baby didn't perk up, Lydic testified, he called Bossick to come home. Lydic said she told him she'd be home after she was done shopping, and in the meantime she called her parents to go check on Tyler.

"At that point, I was in tears," Lydic said.

The baby was taken first to a hospital in Zephyrhills, then flown to St. Joseph's in Tampa, where doctors found skull fractures, bleeding in his eyes and bruises all over his body.

Lydic went on to describe the lasting damage to Tyler, who is almost 4 now.

"Cody can walk and talk and laugh. Tyler does not have the ability to walk, he can't talk. But he can laugh," Lydic said.

He said Tyler frequently has outbursts of crying and seizures. Sometimes he won't make eye contact.

"Tyler cannot track you with one of his eyes because he cannot see out of that eye," Lydic said.

But when Steve Herman, Bossick's public defender, cross-examined Lydic, these things were revealed.

He couldn't remember his sons' birth date.

He couldn't remember the name of Bossick's older daughter, who lived with the couple.

And despite testifying about Tyler's ongoing problems, he hasn't seen his son in more than three years.

(Outside the jury's hearing, Lydic said that's because Bossick's mother won't allow him to see his sons.)

"What really happened between you and Tyler when you were there by yourself?" Herman fired at him. "Did you shake him a little bit to get him to stop crying?"

"No, sir, I did not," Lydic said.

"Did you shake him a lot?"

"No, sir, I did not."

Doctors called to testify by both the state and defense agree on this point: Tyler's injuries were not accidental. Someone inflicted them on the baby.

Bossick, in an interview with detectives three days after the incident, said she had been racking her brain for any incident that might explain his injuries.

Early that morning, she told sheriff's detectives, when she was making a bottle for Tyler, he lifted his head, his weight shifted, his tiny body jerked down and he hit his head on the kitchen countertop.

Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia called it a weak attempt at a plausible explanation.

"It was violent shaking," Garcia said.

But Herman said Bossick never told that story to try to explain away Tyler's injuries — only when investigators asked her repeatedly if there had been any mishaps with the baby.

"This was all they had, and they arrested her," Herman said.

The trial continues today. Bossick may take the stand to testify in her own defense.

Shaken baby abuse trial opens with dad testifying against mom, Sherry Bossick 04/07/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 9:15pm]
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