Daycare operator convicted for the second time in death of 9-month-old baby

KENT COUNTY, MD — A daycare owner from Maryland’s Eastern Shore was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted for a second time of second-degree murder in the death of a nine-month-old baby.

Gail Dobson, 59, of Trappe, Md., was convicted by a Kent County jury after prosecutors prosecutors argued that she shook 9-month-old Trevor Ulrich at her daycare, causing head trauma, a situation sometimes referred to as “Shaken Baby Syndrome”.

The death itself happened in 2009 and Dobson was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison after the first trial ended in 2010. The trial was held in Talbot County, but the case was prosecuted by the Dorchester County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) as the Talbot County SAO had a conflict of interest in the case.

In 2014, a new trial was granted for Dobson. It was moved to Kent County because of the publicity of the first trail and this second one was prosecuted by lawyers from the Montgomery County SAO. Prosecutors said they had to combat against the defense team’s attempts to use “junk science” to cast doubt on the cause of death being head trauma or SBS.

"Why are we trying this case again?” asked Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, speaking at Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville, after the sentencing. “Well, because some of those ‘junk science’ doctors went into court two years after her conviction and said that there should have been this other evidence admitted to prove that this was not a 'Shaken Baby Syndrome', this was not a head trauma case.”

But McCarthy pointed out that when the defense tried to admit the doctors to argue that in the trial, the judge rejected them as expert witnesses.

"They get excluded, because it’s junk science,” added McCarthy, who said prosecutors in his office have had to combat attempts to discredit SBS findings in Montgomery County cases.

"Justice has been served. That the truth had come out, yet again,” said Kelly Ulrich, Trevor’s mom, after the verdict. She added that she remembers her son every day, but tries to not think about the way he died. “To my son, she was a monster, absolutely.”