The paternal grandmother of a little boy who died last year in the care of his babysitter in Willard took the witness stand on Friday. Shelly Bennett’s two hours of emotional testimony highlighted two major issues during the third day of the trial of Brenda Caringer.
Bennett remembered the events leading up to Lucas' death.
"She (Caringer) was telling me that Lucas wasn't breathing, that she had tried to reach Amanda (Lucas’ mom) and that she had called 911."
Prosecutors are going after the different stories
told to Bennett by Caringer.
"’I went to put him down for a nap and went to check on him and he wasn't breathing,’”
Bennett recalls Caringer telling her shortly after she arrived at Caringer’s home.
Later that day, prosecutors say, the story changed. Caringer said Lucas had possibly fallen in the living room while Caringer was in the kitchen getting him a bottle.
"She was going to change him, and he had a seizure, and he stopped breathing,”
Bennett recalled Caringer saying after Lucas was taken to a hospital by an air ambulance.
In cross-examination, the defense focused on what happened two days before Lucas died, when he was at his grandmother's house, getting ready to go to church. Lucas fell and hit his head.
"He was playing with those buttons and he got his weight off balance and he slid off the toy,” Bennett told defense attorney David Back and Circuit Judge Calvin Holden, who’s hearing the case after Caringer waived her right to a jury trial.
"He had a little red spot (after the fall),” Bennett said.
“What part of the head was the red spot on?” the defense attorney asked.
“Right on the side, up towards the top above the temple,” said Bennett.
At the time, Bennett said, she thought nothing of the red spot, and decided not to mention it to Lucas' mother.
"Did you say, ‘I still thought there was every possibility that Lucas' fall at my house could have caused his injury?’ Back asked.
“I'm sure I said that but I don't recall when,” said Bennett.
Both sides are picking apart what was said, when it was said, and how things happened.
The prosecution wrapped up the day by calling in an investigator on the case, along with DNA experts. The issue on hand there is the blood found on the baby's bottle, and how it got there.
The defense argues it’s from a tear on the lip during CPR, which does often happen. The prosecution said it got there before the CPR even happened at the hands of Brenda Caringer.