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Son Takes Stand, Says He Covered One baby’s Mouth

June 24, 1986

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) _ The 14-year-old son of a baby sitter charged with murdering three children left at her home took the stand today and said he covered a baby’s mouth.

Christopher Pankow, granted immunity from prosecution in the proceedings against his mother, Sandra Pankow, was called to the stand by defense attorney William Wilde and asked whether he was jealous of the attention his mother paid to his learning-disabled younger brother Aaron and to 14-month-old Kristin Hamilton and 9-month-old Shawn Bloomer.

The Hamilton and Bloomer children both died while in Mrs. Pankow’s care, Kristin in 1980, and Shawn in 1982. Prosecution witnesses said they died of asphyxia, along with 6-month-old Tyler Kloes, who died in 1985.

Defense Attorney William Wilde asked Christopher if he had ever tied up any babies at his mother’s house.

After a long pause, Christopher quietly responded, ″Yes.″

Asked whether he had ever covered up a baby’s mouth, he answered again, ″Yes.″

Mrs. Pankow, 36, who faces charges of second-degree murder, had taken the stand minutes earlier and denied she had caused the deaths of the three children left in her care.

A New York medical examiner, the last of the prosecution witnesses, testified Monday that the discovery of blood in the lungs of the three infants indicates the deaths were homicides.

Dr. Fred Zugibe, chief medical examiner of Rockland County, N.Y., agreed with previous prosecution witnesses who said the children died of asphyxia, but added that the asphyxia was caused by external force.

The first defense witness, Dr. David Nelson, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and medical director of the Wisconsin SIDS Center, disputed earlier testimony that the probability of three infants dying of sudden infant death syndrome in a single residence was ″close to zero.″

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