Tanner Dowlertanner dowler

Tanner Dowler was only a few months old when he was he arrived at Community Medical Center In Lafayette. Tanner went into respiratory arrest and was tansported by helicopter to the Denver Health Medical Center when doctors could not resuscitate him. It was here that Tanners injuries would be found. He would suffer from 11 broken ribs, both his arms and both his legs were broken. He had second and third degree burns on his feet and suffered head trauma. Parts of his eyeballs has separated said to be caused from being shaken with extreme force. On October 12, 2002 Tanner's grandparents made the hard decision to take him off life support. He would die just a few days before he would have been 9 weeks old.


BOULDER, Colo. -- A jury in Boulder County is deliberating in the case of a man accused of beating and killing his 8-week-old son.

Joseph Dowler, 35, is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the death of Tanner Dowler last October.

Doctors say Tanner had signs he had been severely beaten or shaken on more than one occasion. He died of brain injuries but doctors say the baby had 11 broken ribs and second- and third-degree burns on both feet when he was taken to the hospital last fall. He had been shaken so hard that parts of his eyeballs had separated.

During the trial, Joseph Dowler's defense team tried to shift some of the blame on the mother -- Audra Dowler. Audra Dowler, 19, is serving 10 years in prison for negligence in connection with Tanner's death.

Audra Dowler testified that Joseph was the primary person who took care of the baby and he was often frustrated by the boy's crying. She said her husband balked at getting their son medical attention because he was concerned he would be accused of child abuse.

By the time they took Tanner to Community Medical Center in Lafayette, 36 hours had passed, and the infant was barely breathing and ''gravely ill,'' a doctor testified. Tanner died after being taken off life-support equipment.

A detective told the jury that Dowler confessed to twisting his son's arms until they popped and to lifting him by his jaw to get his attention.

However, the defense did a good job of planting the seed of reasonable doubt, 7NEWS reported.

A waitress testified she saw Audra Dowler lay her baby beside her and cover his face with her hand when he fussed. Co-workers also testified that she referred to her son as ''it'' and the ''thing'' and once said she wanted to tie him to a ceiling fan. Audra Dowler said she didn't want to have a baby but went through with the pregnancy because her husband wanted a family.

Joseph Dowler faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

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