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Testimony starts in trial of mother; boyfriend in toddler's death

MONTICELLO, Ky. (WKYT) - Prosecutors say Staten Stephenson died of four separate injuries to his head and stomach. They painted a pattern of abuse from his mother and her then boyfriend for the jury of eight men and six women.

“He had various bruises and scrapes and things like that on his body,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Leveridge told jurors during the first day of testimony in the Monticello courtroom Tuesday.

When the toddler was brought into Wayne County Hospital on July 16, 2011, prosecutors say Staten’s body temperature had dropped more than 18 degrees.

“When he arrived his stomach was distended and swollen; he was having trouble breathing,” said Leveridge.

Right after Staten Stephenson died at UK Hospital his mother Kayla Lord was overhead making a statement and those three words have proven to be part of the evidence against her in this case.

“Me and some of the other nurses heard the mother say, 'I killed him,'" said Dr. Brett Elmore, who said he was the doctor who took the toddler off life support.

Defense attorney Jim Cox pointed out that Lord said that while crying, after agreeing to take Staten off life support. His argument, and much of their defense, is that Lord and Jared Futrell rushed Staten to the hospital after a severe choking incident and some of the other injuries may have occurred while they were trying to help him.

“They were grasping at anything because they did not understand. They did not know. All they knew is that we got to help him and got to get him revived,” said Cox.

Jurors are expected to hear evidence until Friday.


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