At the preliminary hearing of Leon Alyious Bigleggins, 26, who stands accused of murdering 4-year-old Dylan Blount-Chambers, Dylan's grandmother testified that Bigleggins, her then boyfriend, hid the extensive injuries he inflicted on her grandson that she and prosecutors allege ultimately resulted in his death.
Donna Blount tearfully explained that Dylan had come to stay with her and Bigleggins at her house off Sabertooth Road near Blue Lake on July 3 of last year. Blount said that up until Dylan's death on July 24, 2010, Bigleggins took care of her grandson while she was at work -- sometimes until as late at 9 p.m. -- seven days a week.
”Leon took total control of him (Dylan),” she said. “He wouldn't even let me go into the bathroom with him. He said he was a big boy.”
But, Blount said, she never suspected that Bigleggins was abusing him.
”I thought he was doing all this to help me, instead he was torturing my grandson,” Blount said.
Bigleggins, who appeared before the court in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit Monday, has been charged with murder and two counts of child abuse in connection to Dylan's death -- charges to which he has pleaded not guilty. If convicted he could face life in prison.
During the preliminary hearing, which was continued to today by Judge Christopher Wilson to allow for further witness testimony, forensic pathologist Mark Super painted a gruesome picture of the injuries that led up to the 4-year-old's death.
During cross examination by public defender David Lee and District Attorney Paul Gallegos, who is prosecuting the case, Super -- who performed an autopsy on Dylan on July 27, 2010 -- said that the official cause of Dylan's death was blunt force trauma to the abdomen or head, which resulted in internal injuries.
According to Super, Dylan suffered a blow, or series of blows, to his abdomen that resulted in a tear in his bowel causing fecal matter to leak into his abdominal cavity. The 4-year-old also had bruising on the backside of his head, which may have rendered him unconscious and led to his death, Super said.
In addition to the bruising on Dylan's head, Super also noted the bruising on other parts of the boy's body in photo after photo presented by Gallegos.
”These types of bruises are unusual and would absolutely not come from child's play or by appropriate parental discipline,” he said, noting the bruising and abrasions covering the boy's groin, the palms of his hands, his buttocks and the tops of his feet.
During his testimony, Super said that the bruises were nonspecific and that he was unable to determine a pattern that might explain what caused them. He also said he was unable to tell how old the bruises were.
”The problem is that they are so extensive, it is hard to tell one bruise from another,” Super said. “He was almost entirely covered with bruises and abrasions.”
During her testimony, Blount said that she never noticed the bruises covering her grandson -- bruises that Super said should have grabbed a person's attention. When she did ask Bigleggins about scratches on Dylan's hand, she said he told her he had gotten his hand stuck in thistles.
”I saw the photos and they made me puke,” she said, wiping away tears. “I would never cause injury to a child.”
Blount will appear in court again today for further questioning. According to Gallegos, an additional three witnesses are also expected to testify.