D’Andre Glaspy’s heart was pounding so hard he couldn’t hear the judge’s words when he read the verdict at the end of his 14-week trial in King County Superior Court last month. Then he noticed that his attorneys, Anna Samuel and Michael Schueler, were in tears, and he assumed the worst – his nightmare would continue.
When Anna turned to him and said, “You’re not guilty,” D’Andre realized her tears were tears of joy – and he, too, started to cry. “The first word that popped into my head was ‘finally,’” he said. “Finally, I can begin my life again.”
D’Andre, who goes by Dre, sat in jail for more than five years for a murder he didn’t commit – a tragedy compounded by his own immense feelings of loss. Moses, a two-year-old boy to whom Dre was like a father, died under Dre’s watch, despite his valiant efforts at CPR. Rather than grieving this death, Dre began the ordeal of trying to maintain his dignity and spirit while in a jail cell, buoyed only by the visits of his mother, his sister, his friends, and his defense team.
“I was grieving, but I couldn’t let it show,” he said. “I had to learn to compartmentalize.”
All that changed on March 17, when a 12-person jury found Dre not guilty. Now, Dre said, he’s trying to find his way in the world, feeling both pain for all that he’s lost and hope that he can rebuild his life. “My gratitude for things is on a whole different level,” he said.
On that fateful day in 2017, Dre, frantic, called 911 to report that Moses had passed out. Based on instructions from the 911 operator, he attempted CPR, to no avail. Four days later, Dre was arrested, charged with Murder 2, and jailed on $1 million bail – where he remained for the next 63 months.
The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide due to both internal and external injuries. Unfortunately, Michael said, “she missed a lot of things. She viewed everything through the lens of trauma, and that led her to make the wrong conclusions.”
Anna and Michael and their defense team – investigators Molly Gilbert and Emily Willard, paralegal Gary Shaleen, and mitigation specialist Alix Willard – were able to piece together what actually happened, with the help of top medical experts.
Tests by one of the experts, Dr. Roland Auer, a neuropathologist, showed that Moses was ill with pneumonia, which spread from his lungs to the rest of his small body. The medical examiner missed this because she didn’t do a viral swab during the autopsy, Michael said.
Dr. Auer also explained to the jury why it appeared that Moses had bruises on him. The infection led to a condition called disseminated intervascular coagulation, which caused clots to spread throughout his body, mimicking bruises. Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, an infectious disease doctor, reviewed Dr. Auer’s cellular findings and confirmed the diagnosis; he also reviewed statements by Moses’ mother, who described her son as sick, and testified about the impact of a serious infection on children – that it can spread quickly and cause a small child to collapse.
The prosecutor said Moses’ internal injuries showed signs of abuse, but that, too, did not hold up under scrutiny. The medical examiner did not listen to the 911 call. Had she, she would have heard the CPR directions the operator gave Dre – directions so bad (“press as hard as you can,” the operator told Dre) she would have realized why Moses had broken ribs and other internal injuries.
One expert, Dr. Julie Mack, a pediatric radiologist, discussed recent medical literature that noted the location of the fracture would not prove abuse – rather, she said, CPR could cause bones to break. Another expert, Dr. Carl Wigren, a forensic pathologist, testified about the harm of those CPR instructions – that any adult would hurt a two-year-old by following the 911 operator’s advice. He reviewed the police-conducted reenactment of Dre’s CPR attempt, showing that the injuries were exactly where Dre had placed his hands.
It was a medically complex trial, Michael said, but it also came down to a simple truth: “This was a very sad case of a father trying hard to save his son.”
Matt Sanders, a managing attorney at DPD, praised the defense team’s work – a “robust defense” that saved a young man’s life. “It doesn’t get much better than that,” he wrote in an email to his division.
Dre, too, marvels over the quality of the team that defended him. “They are truly a blessing,” he said. “I couldn’t have paid for a better legal team.”
“They put their everything into it; they made my truth come to light,” he added. “That means the world to me.”