Dec 10, 2008

All these things

Makayla Denise Valley, only a year and a half old, was apparently punched repeatedly until she died.

Her head was bashed into a hard surface, until her brain began to bleed, and her liver ruptured, leaking red-brown into her belly until it was swollen and distended in the autopsy photos shown to the jury in the murder trial.

The jury of nine women and five men saw more than a dozen photos of the dead baby Tuesday, as the murder trail of Philanders Lamont Bowie moved past alleged confessions and questions of lies to scientific evidence. A 27-year-old from Louisiana, Bowie allegedly wanted to stop his girlfriend's child from crying, and beat her to death in 2005.

He has been charged with child abuse and murder. His former girlfriend, Candace Jakes, testified against him last week. She has not been charged with anything.

In the first autopsy photo shown to the jury, as Medical Examiner Laura Darrisaw testified, Valley was spread-eagle, naked except for her diaper, bloated and covered in red and purple bruises. In other photos, showing the dead baby's stomach and face, the scattering of bruises seemed to be uncountable. In a final photo, left lingering on an overhead projector as the jury took a morning break, the child's skin was starting to look like plastic, in death, and the stomach was opened to the deep, disturbing red of the fatal wound.

"This is not a normal child," said Darrisaw, an expert in children's autopsies. "This is a severe beating that this child had."

Darrisaw testified the Valley suffered "multiple strikes with a fist," and had "just lots of bruises" on her face, head, back, arms, chest and stomach. "This is not like a boxing match, going 10 rounds. This is a child, who sustained all these things with a short time, and then dies."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Jury sees photos of dead baby, in murder trial