Rudman showed pictures of the girl's injuries during her opening remarks. The child has had several reconstructive surgeries that have improved the condition of her upper lip, though it still remains heavily scarred. She is currently living with a relative, prosecutors said.
James' lawyer, Theodore Barone, declined to make an opening statement Tuesday. But while cross examining New Bedford Police Detective Chris Cotter, who was the lead investigator, Barone noted that the detective testified during a July 2007 dangerousness hearing that the girl first told him that she hurt her lip by falling in a bathtub at home.
Cotter also previously testified that he did not understand the girl's explanations for bruises she had on her arm.
Cotter interviewed the girl on Jan. 11, 2007, when the girl's mother, Jessica S. Silveira, brought her to the Kool Smiles dentist office in New Bedford for a lip injury. Cotter said the child had what appeared to be bite marks on her left arm and elbow, as well as bruising on her back.
The dental visit prompted investigations by the police and the Department of Social Services. In April 2007, Silveira took her daughter to St. Luke's Hospital with swelling on her face. Her lip had also deteriorated since the January visit, police said.
Police said the girl told investigators that James often hit her on the ear with his belt when she misbehaved or wet her pants; her brother said likewise, adding that James had bitten his sister in anger in his presence.
Police obtained arrest warrants for James and Silveira, alleging she tried to cover up the abuse. Cotter said New Bedford police put out a press release and contacted state police to be on the lookout for the suspects after he was unable to find them for several days.
On July 3, 2007, James called New Bedford police to say he was at a campground in New Hampshire and was returning to the city to turn himself in. State police later stopped the vehicle he and Silveira were operating on Route 140 in Freetown, according to testimony.