Defense Calls Slain Toddler's Grandmother To The Stand


Tuesday, July 17th 2007, 6:28 am
By: News On 6


BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) _ Prosecutors rested their case Monday while defense attorneys began theirs in the felony child-abuse case against a mother accused in the death of her 2-year-old daughter.

Raye Dawn Smith is charged with child abuse or enabling child abuse. Prosecutors contend she either hurt her 2-year-old daughter herself or allowed her then-husband to hurt the child. Smith, 27, denies wrongdoing.

Kelsey Smith-Briggs died on Oct. 11, 2005, at the home of her mother and stepfather near Meeker. Jurors have been told she suffered repeated injuries in the last months of her life, including a broken collarbone, broken shins and bruises on the face and body.

Michael Porter, the child's stepfather, initially was charged with sexually assaulting and killing the child, but he pleaded guilty to enabling child abuse under a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Porter testified last week that he believes Smith is responsible for Kelsey's death.

The final prosecution witnesses Monday included a University of Oklahoma children's orthopedic surgeon who testified he was certain Kelsey's broken legs were from abuse.

Dr. Andy Sullivan examined Kelsey on May 2, 2005, in Oklahoma City and found she had suffered spiral cracks to both shin bones. He testified he believes they were broken at different times. He looked at Kelsey after she was brought in by her paternal grandmother.

The doctors said such an injury can happen when the bone is twisted as someone slings a child by the leg in anger. He said three other experts at OU confirmed his finding Kelsey was abused.

``Dr. Sullivan, any doubt in your mind this was child abuse?'' a prosecutor asked.

``Absolutely none,'' he said.

Prosecutors allege the mother covered up the abuse by blaming injuries on accidents, such as a fall.

The defense's first witness _ Smith's mother, Gayla Smith _ said her daughter wanted an autopsy to be performed on Kelsey's body, but that Porter objected.

Gayla Smith also said her daughter cooperated with state Department of Human Services workers in an effort to regain custody of Kelsey and that Raye Dawn Smith also cooperated with authorities who investigated Kelsey's death.

More of Raye Dawn Smith's relatives are scheduled to testify Tuesday, but she is not expected to take the stand in her own defense.

Watch the video: Child Abuse Trial Continues

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