Toddler: `Daddy Mike Hurt My Head'

Saturday, July 14th 2007, 2:13 pm
By: News On 6

BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) _ A woman accused of abusing her young daughter dismissed the 2-year-old child's complaint just months before her death that her stepfather had hurt her, a child welfare aide testified on Friday.

Annette Swinford said she was with Raye Dawn Smith during Smith's supervised visitation with Kelsey Smith-Briggs when she overheard the child say ``out of the blue ... Daddy Mike hurt my head.''

Swinford said Smith laughed and told Kelsey that ``Daddy Mike'' couldn't have hurt her head because ``he's not been around you.''

``Daddy Mike'' is Michael Porter, who married Smith a month before the visit.

Prosecutors have charged Smith with child abuse or enabling child abuse in connection with Kelsey's Oct. 11, 2005, death. Porter was charged with first-degree murder and child sexual abuse but pleaded guilty to enabling child abuse and received a 30-year prison term in an agreement with prosecutors.

Authorities allege the mother either abused Kelsey or allowed Porter to abuse the child. Smith, 27, denies wrongdoing.

Kelsey made the complaint about her stepfather on May 18, 2005, at the Department of Human Services office in Lincoln County, according to the testimony Friday.

Kelsey had been placed in DHS custody two weeks earlier after a doctor concluded her broken legs came from abuse. A judge later returned Kelsey to her mother.

Smith and Porter wed on April 18, 2005, in Shawnee. They divorced after Kelsey's death.

Jurors also heard from a witness who described seeing Smith spank Kelsey three times then ``just toss'' the child into the back of a car late in the summer of 2004.

The new witness, Gene Snider, testified he saw a screaming Smith swat Kelsey three times with some force inside the entrance of a convenience store in Meeker in the summer of 2004. He said Smith was holding Kelsey up by an arm as the girl tried to sit down to avoid being spanked.

``She was whacking her,'' Snider said. ``The little girl was crying.''

He said Smith then picked Kelsey up and slung the girl over the front seat of her car into the back. He said Smith then just drove off. He told jurors he thought the spanking was not that unusual but was disturbed Kelsey was hurled into the back seat.

Snider first told his account to Porter's defense attorney, who was helping Snider on a probate matter. Prosecutors questioned Snider last month because he had been listed as a possible witness in Porter's case.

Jurors have been told Kelsey suffered broken bones and bruises to the face and body repeatedly in the last months of her life. Prosecutors have put on evidence Kelsey was at her mother's those times when she was hurt.

Also Friday, a private child-welfare worker testified Smith was aggravated on the day of her daughter's death.

Jean Bonner, a worker with the Eastern Oklahoma Youth Services, said Smith became upset after learning Kelsey's father would be returning soon from military duty.

Bonner visited the mother from noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 11, 2005, and said the child The girl died later that afternoon.

She and DHS workers reported finding bruises on the child and once noted the skin near the girl's eye had been rubbed raw.

The mother said Kelsey had rubbed her own eye too hard after getting adult shampoo in it, according to testimony. The workers had doubts about that explanation.

Bonner testified she had concerns about some of the problems but never enough to call police.

Asked by a prosecutor if she might have missed something during these visits, given that Kelsey died, Bonner said, ``I don't know.''

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