Shades of Guilt

In the murder trial of Krystal Voss, doubt was everywhere and nothing was reasonable.

And the defense didn't put on medical experts of its own, witnesses who might have explained that a dirty diaper or crying have been known to trigger what child-abuse researchers call "impulse homicides."

Would any of this have made a difference? The jury did have Voss's statement about shaking her son, and "that was a major portion of it," says one juror, who asked to remain anonymous. "I didn't feel her testimony that the statement was coerced was accurate."

They also had the blown-up pictures of Kyran in the hospital. "We just had a difficult time looking at the pictures and seeing the amount of bruises and thinking that it could have happened in the time span that Patrick Ramirez had the baby," the juror says. "It's just, to me, unfathomable that he could have done that much damage to that baby in that period of time."

Damien Gaston, Krystal Voss and their son, Kyran, 
posed for a family photo shortly before they moved to 
Alamosa two years ago.
Damien Gaston, Krystal Voss and their son, Kyran, posed for a family photo shortly before they moved to Alamosa two years ago.

The jury didn't entirely believe Ramirez; they agreed there was no evidence of a shaking that morning. In fact, the juror says, there was "a lot of room for reasonable doubt." But they believed Dr. Wells, and she'd allowed a generous window of time as to when the injuries might have occurred. Still, the juror's interpretation of Wells's testimony is medically improbable, if not impossible, given the kind of severe brain injury Kyran suffered. "He could have been somewhat normal for a while," the juror says. "Then abnormalities start popping up before the herniation of the brain."

District Attorney Comar didn't respond to an interview request. Defense attorney Marquez says he's loath to comment on a case before sentencing. "I'm just very disappointed," he says. "I know the jury saw things differently, but I continue to believe in my client."

Damien Gaston is pondering appeals and asking strangers for their prayers. The verdict was not what he considers justice for his wife -- or his son. "I'm scared in one sense, but I'm really more empowered and pissed off," he says. "I've got to fight. I've got to figure out how."

He wonders how much his wife's lifestyle might have influenced the verdict, whether the jury saw how "naíve" she really was in her dealings with Ramirez and the police. "I could question everything about this case," he says. "I've asked myself if there was any way she might have unintentionally hurt Kyran. I've thought about that possibility. But when I hear Patrick, all doubt fades. I know these two people."

Krystal Voss marks time in the Alamosa County jail. "If I could die this moment to bring Kyran back, I would," she wrote last week in a letter to Westword. "I want to find some way to push for better legislation on procedures for criminal investigation, such as mandatory audio and video taping and Miranda rights for all suspects.... More family members need to be spoken to when children are victims. That was not done in this case."

Still proclaiming her innocence, she insists that her sin was trusting her son to Patrick Ramirez. "I never would have walked out that door on January 31, 2003, if I could have known that Kyran would be killed," she wrote. "I am tortured and punished each day by his absence."

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