Testimony is under way in the second day of the capital murder trial for the Lufkin man accused of brutally beating a 3-year-old boy to death in December 2010.
The trial is being held in the 217th Judicial District Court. If convicted, Kerry Jock Woodard, 27, will get life in prison without parole.
Woodard is accused of causing multiple injuries to the child, including a lacerated liver, a contusion on the lung, hemorrhages in the eyes and spinal cord, subdural hematomas of the brain, and more than 100 documented contusions and abrasions on the head, torso, legs, and arms.
It happened while Woodard was watching the child, Zikeishun Lane, while the mother was working. The child was originally treated for the injuries at a Lufkin hospital in December 2010, and he later died at a Houston hospital.
In his opening statements, prosecutor Art Bauereiss explained to jurors Woodard was dating the child's mother Valerie Mosby. The couple lived together and it had become a routine for them to take Zikeishun to Woodard's mother's house, after dropping of the child Woodward would take his girlfriend to work.
Before Zikeishun's mother, Valerie Mosby, could continue her testimony, forensic scientist Dr. Mary Lynn Anzelone took the stand this morning.
Anzelone explained internal and external autopsy photos to jurors during her testimony. According to the forensic scientist, the cause of death was blunt trauma to the head and the manner of death was ruled homicide.
"The injuries were on the parts of the body where children don't fall and hurt themselves," Anzelone said.
Anzelone testified that the bruises on the child's body were in various stages of healing, and it appears he was abused on more than one occasion.
Defense attorney Al Charanza used a doll to demonstrate the scenario of Mosby throwing the three-year-old on the couch.
Anzelone said that the bruises Zikeishun sustained couldn't have come from a couch because his injuries we're more localized.
Forensic Pathologist Glen Douglas took the stand after Dr. Anzelone. He examined the brain of the child during the autopsy. Douglas told jurors that there was evidence of recent bleeding and prior bleeding in the outer region of the brain.
"We saw some blood on the outside covering of the spinal cord, and it appeared to be at least two episodes of bleeding," said Douglas.
"Within the eyes we saw hemorrhages that were consistent with the other two episodes of injury."
Douglas told jurors even though he couldn't give a specific day, he could give a range of when the injury occurred because we all heal differently from injuries
"I can't tell you what caused the injury, but I can tell you there was some trauma and bleeding in that area"
Douglas said the best way to look at it is to think about what we did as children, saying "The falls that we took never really caused us brain injuries, these types of injuries we just don't see.
"We usually do not see these injuries in simple household falls or a stairway," Douglas.
Douglas testified that it would be very unlikely for the three-year-old to sustain these injuries from being thrown on the couch.
Those sorts of things happen every day and with all the millions of those cases that occur, we don't see this types of injuries, usually," said Douglas.
Douglas said that previous injury may have made Zikeishun more susceptible to fatal injury, but it's not what killed him.
Al Charanza questioned Mosby about whether or not she had been planning to take Zikeishun to the doctor before she got off work. She said that she had because her son had not been feeling well all day.
"At the beginning of your relationship with Kerry, did he tell you that he was a registered sex offender?" Charanza asked.
Mosby replied that he had, and under further questioning from the defense attorney, admitted that she and Woodard had agreed that it would be a good idea for him to stay away from children to avoid any further allegations of sex abuse.
Charanza also asked Mosby why she waited a month and a half to work with the ACSO by using the prepaid card to call.
"Why didn't you call on Dec. 9?" Charanza asked.
Under further questioning, Mosby admitted that in addition to not wanting to have anything to do with Woodard, she delayed helping authorities find out what happened because she was worried about the fact that she had told one investigator that she had thrown her son onto the couch because she was frustrated with him.
Mosby said that Woodard sometimes disciplined Zikeishun by spanking him on the bottom or legs. When Charanza asked her how she disciplined her son, she said that she usually swatted him on the hand, contrasting her testimony from Tuesday, in which she said that she would also spank Zikeishun on the bottom.
"Do you remember saying, ‘I am here to clear my heart?'" Charanza asked.
"I'm not sure," Mosby said.
Bauereiss asked Mosby if Zikeishun had ever been in an auto accident while he was in her custody, and she said no. She also denied ever seeing any bruising on her son's genitals when she was bathing him.
"Why did you tell the investigators the wrong story?" Bauereiss asked.
"I was controlled, abused," Mosby said.
Mosby said that Woodard would tell her what to say and controlled who she hung out with. Under further question from the prosecution, she said that she had been hurt when she had gone to work on several occasions. The victim's mother said Woodard abused her on at least four separate occasions to the point that she had scratches and bruises.
When she told Coy Collins, a CPS special investigator, that she had thrown Zikeishun against a couch, it was right after doctors had pronounced her son dead.
"Was that statement true? Did you ever throw Zikeishun against the couch?" Bauereiss asked.
"No, sir," Mosby said.
Bauereiss got Mosby to list all the adults that had direct contact with Zikeishun other than her. She listed Woodard, the child's biological father, his parents, and his sister.
Charanza asked if she ever spoke with anyone about the things she said that Woodard did her during the course of their relationship, and Mosby said no.
"You're sitting in the sheriff's office protected by law enforcement, and you didn't tell them Kerry had been abusing you?" Charanza said.
"Yes, sir," Mosby said.
When asked if she told Collins at the Houston hospital that she had never seen Woodard strike Zikeishun, Mosby said, "I don't recall."
Bauereiss then called Belinda Moreland, one of Mosby's former co-workers at the Lufkin State-Supported Facility back to the stand. She testified that there were several occasions that Mosby came to work with visible bruises and scratches. Moreland also said that Mosby would come to work with those visible injuries while she was dating Woodard.
Under cross examination from Charanza, Moreland said, "I told her she needed to go to the police - that she didn't have to take that from him."
Bauereiss also called Collins back to the stand. He said at Bauereiss' request, he had gone back through his case files and found that he had forgotten to mention that he spoke to Woodard while doctors at the Houston hospital were talking to Zikeishun's family.
Woodard told him that he wasn't allowed to be around his sister's kids because he was a registered sex offender. He also told Collins that he visited a friend in Nacogdoches and later went home to watch football on Dec. 6, 2010. Collins testified that Woodard told him that Mosby picked Zikeishun up from Woodard's parents' house.
He described Woodard as being evasive. Then he said that when Mosby told him she had thrown her son on the couch, he thought there was no way that Zikeishun would wind up with injuries as severe as his as a result of something like his mom throwing him against a couch. He also described her as "distraught" and "upset."
Mosby allegedly told Collins that she took Zikeishun from his car seat, and rushed into the house to go to the bathroom. Collins added Mosby told him that she tossed Zikeishun on the couch on her way to the bathroom.
Jimmy Woodard, Woodard's father, said his son wasn't allowed to be around kids at his house because he was a registered sex offender. He testified that his now-estranged wife, Mary Woodard, was babysitting Zikeishun on Dec. 6, 2010. At the time, several of the couple's grandchildren, some as old as 16, were living with them.
Jimmy Woodard said that when he got home from his job that evening, Zikeishun wasn't there. He admitted that he wasn't sure what the time was when he got home.
"Do you remember telling Deputy Murphy that Zikeishun had been there when you got home?" Bauereiss.
"No," Jimmy Woodard said.
Jimmy Woodard also denied ever telling Murphy that Woodard picked up his son around 6 or 7 p.m. on December 9, 2010.
Bauereiss asked Jimmy Woodard if the deputies had shown him pictures of Zikeishun's bruising. Jimmy Woodard said yes. However, he denied saying that Zikeishun didn't have those marks and bruises when he left the Woodard home.
"They asked you if the baby looked like that?" Bauereiss asked.
"They was doing me just like you're doing me; they was trying to put words in my mouth," Jimmy Woodard said.
Bauereiss asked if Jimmy Woodard had told investigators that he thought Zikeishun had been injured in a car accident with his biological father, and the suspect's father said yes. Jimmy Woodard also admitted he had never seen any accident report indicating that had happened.
Under cross examination from Charanza, Jimmy Woodard said that he had his wife split up about a year after Zikeishun died, and that he is currently living in the mobile home where his son and Mosby had been living. Charanza also had him identify a couch that had been at the trailer when his son and his girlfriend had been living there. The couch was in the courtroom during the testimony.
Jimmy Woodard said that he had seen Zikeishun on the day he died.
"He told me, ‘Paw paw, I don't feel good," Jimmy Woodard said.
Charanza asked Jimmy Woodard to repeat what he had told the defense attorney about what kind of person Mosby was. Bauereiss objected, and Judge Barry Bryan released the jurors for their afternoon recess, so he could talk to the attorneys.
When testimony resumed, Jimmy Woodard testified that he saw bruising on Zikeishun's arm around Thanksgiving of the year he died.
Bauereiss got Jimmy Woodard to admit that he told authorities that he wasn't going to show them the couch after they served him with a subpoena. At the time, it was in a storage building at his residence.
After calling Mary Woodard, Woodard's mother, to the stand, Bauereiss asked her if she had ever injured Zikeishun. She shook her head vehemently and said, "No, sir."
Mary Woodard also testified that her son had called her from jail several times.
"You'd help him in any way you could?" Bauereiss asked.
"Yes, sir … if it was the right thing to do," Mary Woodard said.
Under Bauereiss' questioning, Mary Woodard said it was routine for Mosby to drop Zikeishun off at about 1:30 or 2 p.m. However, on Dec. 9, 2010, Mosby dropped Zikeishun off early, and sat with Mary Woodard at her kitchen table.
"I asked her why (Zikeishun) was sick," Mary Woodard said.
Mary Woodard also testified that Woodard was with Mosby that day. When Bauereiss asked her if she remembered telling investigators that her son wasn't with Mosby that day, Mary Woodard replied that she couldn't remember.
Bauereiss showed her pictures of Zikeishun's injuries, and she admitted that the boy's eyes were red, and that there were marks around her mouth.
"Was this one there when he first came to see you that day?" Bauereiss said.
There was a long pause, and Mary Woodard didn't answer. At one point, she sighed and shook her head.
Bauereiss also asked Mary Woodard if she had told at CPS case worker that she had changed Zikeishun's pull-up on Dec. 6, 2010 because he wasn't quite potty trained.
"I don't recall," Mary Woodard said.
The prosecutor also asked if she had changed his pull-up at any time after Oct. 10, 2010, and Mary Woodard replied that she probably had when he went to the bathroom, and that her children and some of her grandchildren changed his pull-ups at times as well. He also showed a picture of bruising to Zikeishun's genitals and asked if she had ever seen anything like that when she changed him. In response, Mary Woodard shook her head.
In addition, Mary Woodard admitted that she told the CPS case worker that Zikeishun was always complaining about aches and pains. She also confirmed that her telling the case worker that seemed to bother her son.
Later, Bauereiss asked Mary Woodard if she remembered seeing bruising on Zikeishun the weekend before Thanksgiving of 2010. Woodard's mother said she didn't remember.
Then in reference to the recorded phone call with Mosby on January 2011, Bauereiss asked Mary Woodard if she remembered telling Mosby what time Woodard dropped Zikeishun off on Dec. 6, 2010. She couldn't remember and couldn't explain why she told investigators that Mosby had dropped the boy off that day.
Bauereiss also asked Mary Woodard he she remembered her son being given a criminal trespass warning in October 2010 and told to stay away from her residence on Ramsey Road. After several questions, she said that she remembered it happening.
Changing tack, Bauereiss asked Mary Woodard had ever seen her son or Mosby discipline Zikeishun.
"No. Zikeishun never caused any trouble," Mary Woodard replied.
Later, Bauereiss again asked Mary Woodard if she had ever seen bruising on Zikeishun.
"He was always playing, and he fell down sometimes," Mary Woodard said.
However, Mary Woodard denied telling a family member who asked about Zikeishun's bruising that her son had done it.
Charanza asked Mary Woodard about the daily routine. She said her son and Mosby usually brought Zikeishun to her house.
Referring back to her testimony about Mosby talking to her on Dec. 6, 2010, Mary Woodard said she asked her son's girlfriend about a mark on Zikeishun's arm.
"Valerie said, ‘He's been sick,'" Mary Woodard said.
Mary Woodard said that Mosby went to the Dollar Store to get some medicine. On Dec. 6, 2010, Mosby gave Zikeishun some "eye wash" because "his eyes were red." Charanza also entered four medicine bottles that Mosby gave her to give Zikeishun that day.
"Do you remember whether it was Kerry or Valerie who picked Zi up that day?" Charanza asked.
"I was asleep; I don't know," Mary Woodard said.
Responding to questions from Charanza, Mary Woodward said that she didn't give Zikeishun any of the medicine because his lips were blue as if he had already been given an Advil. She also said that she and her daughter told Mosby that she needed to take the boy to the doctor.
"She told me to call her if he got worse," Mary Woodard said.
She said that Zikeishun had thrown up earlier in the day on Dec. 6, 2010, and that she tried to call Mosby at the state school, but didn't have any luck reaching her. At one point, she told the boy to go lie down with his "Paw Paw." She also testified that he didn't eat much that day and that his cousins woke him up when they home from school.
Charanza asked Mary Woodard if she remembered telling one of the investigators that one of his cousins hit him in the face with a stick. She also testified that she told investigators that there was another time that Zikeishun was riding a child-sized four-wheeler when one of his cousins pushed him down the hill and caused the 3-year-old to fall.
"Mrs. Woodard, why is your memory about Dec. 6, 2010 so much better when Mr. Charanza is talking to you?" Bauereiss asked at one point.
Mary Woodard replied that the prosecutor's questions were more confusing.
Under further questioning, Mary Woodard told Bauereiss that Mosby had been driving when Zikeishun was dropped off at her house on Dec. 6, 2010. He showed her a statement that she gave ACSO investigator B.J. Murphy that said the same thing and asked why she didn't mention that her son had been with Mosby and Zikeishun that day.
"They didn't ask me that," Mary Woodard said.
Mary Woodard said that Murphy wrote it, and she signed it even though she didn't read it.
Under cross examination from Bauereiss, Mary Woodard said that she couldn't remember any of the phone conversations she had with her son after Zikeishun's death.
"Is it because if you remembered, it might look like you and Kerry were trying to get your stories straight?" Bauereiss said.
"No, sir," Mary Woodard said.
Laquista Howard, Woodard's sister, testified that
she couldn't remember whether she knew that Zikeishun had returned to live with
Woodard and Mosby in the mobile home on FM 843. She also talked about making a
statement to investigators and then going over it line by line with Bauereiss.
She denied saying that her mother was babysitting Zikeishun on the weekend
before the Thanksgiving of 2010, explaining that Mosby had been there as well.
Howard also testified that on that day she saw bruises up and down Zikeishun's legs, his arms, and his back. She also saw that he was limping.
‘Why did you ask your mother, ‘Why did Kerry do this?" Bauereiss asked.
"I asked her, ‘Who did this?'" Howard said.
Howard said that she wanted to take Zikeishun to the doctor right then. However, she testified that her mother told her not to do it because she felt it was Mosby's responsibility. In addition, she said she saw Woodard and Mosby "fussing," or arguing at one point.
Charanza asked if Zikeishun's injuries were obvious
enough that Mosby should have seen it, and she said yes. At one point, Howard
stormed out of her parent's house because she was angry that no one had taken the
boy to the doctor, the sister testified.
Bauereiss then asked Howard if she remembered telling investigators that she saw Woodard physically assault Mosby.
"I never said that," Howard said.
Clarifying, Charanza asked Howard if she was merely pointing out that she said Woodard verbally assaulted Mosby instead of physically hitting her, She nodded and said, ‘Yes, sir."
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