A judge's experiment at a sink in his chambers led him to acquit a man of all charges in the drowning of his 2-year-old daughter in a bathtub that had been plugged with a tennis ball.
Common Pleas Judge Raymond A. Novak took the tennis ball with him when he adjourned to his chambers Thursday to decide whether Ernest Walker, 31, of Pittsburgh, was guilty or innocent of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of Lorrene Walker, who died July 5.Novak said he put the ball in the sink and ran water over it. He said the ball first went into the drain and later bobbed up, but finally settled in the drain, allowing the sink to overflow.
Police conducted a similar experiment before charging Walker. In the police experiment, the ball kept floating and would not clog the drain unless someone purposely used it to block the drain.