Jury selection underway in trial of Dylan Tate

Dylan Tate

ANDERSON — Day two of testimony in the Dylan Tate murder trial included dozens of crime scene photos, evidence collected from Tate's home and testimony from the emergency room doctor who first treated Harlan Haines.

Tate is on trial in Madison County Circuit Court 1 for the murder and molestation of his girlfriend's 18-month-old son, Harlan.

When Tate brought Harlan to Community Hospital Anderson on Feb. 23, 2018, the boy was "pale, cold, bruised, limp and unresponsive," Dr. Thomas Short said.

"It was clear when he arrived here he was dead," Short told jurors.

Photos of Harlan, taken at Community Hospital Anderson before he was transferred to Indianapolis, showed bruises and injuries in various stages of healing that covered the toddler's face, abdomen, arms and legs.

The photos also showed scabbed-over cuts and scratches on his face and feet and a perfectly formed blister between Harlan's shoulder blades.

Short testified the blistered skin was consistent with a cigarette burn. Visible tissue damage and markings on the boy's bottom were described by Short as a "penetrative blunt trauma" injury.

Tate had told authorities he was driving Harlan to the hospital because the boy was struggling to breathe and was in a car accident on the way to the hospital. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Grey Chandler asked Short whether the injuries were consistent with such an accident.

"Absolutely not," Short responded.

In his testimony on Friday, Short told jurors he doesn't remember very much after Tate brought Harlan to the emergency room.

Tate was pounding so hard on the ambulance entrance doors to the emergency room that Short thought the glass was going to break. Short's first thought was not to let Tate into the hospital and call security. Then Short and the other medical personnel noticed the lifeless body in Tate's arms.

"After that everything was a blur," said Short.

He talked about the brown paper towel he found at the back of Harlan's throat blocking the child's airway.

"It was behind the base of his tongue," Short told jurors. "As far back as you can go."

Chandler pulled a specimen bottle from a brown evidence bag. The container was the size of a large prescription bottle and wadded up inside was the paper towel Short said he pulled from Harlan's mouth.

Harlan's pupils were fixed and dilated, indicating the boy had suffered brain damage from a "major trauma," Short explained. Further testing revealed there was bleeding around Harlan's brain.

Short said Tate was frantic and physically grabbed the doctor several times while in the emergency room. Later that morning, Tate was found passed out and snoring on a rolling bed in the hallway outside Harlan's room.

Jurors reviewed dozens of crime scene photos showing the pack and play Tate said Harlan was sleeping in before he was taken to the hospital. Chris Frazier with the Anderson Police Department said the two pillows and two blankets along with everything in the pack and play were soaking wet when they were collected for evidence.

A half-eaten cracker and an almost empty travel size bottle of lotion were also found in Harlan's bed which was set up in a living room.

Testimony in the trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. on Monday. Judge Angela Warner Sims told jurors the trial is on track to conclude next week.

Staff writer

An ink slinging wordsmith with The Herald Bulletin in Anderson, Indiana. Writing about news that is changing people's lives. Have a news tip? Send it to traci.miller@heraldbulletin.com or call me at 765-640-4805.