Experts testify victim died from child abuse

Experts testify victim died from child abuse

LAWTON, Okla._It's day four in the murder trial of the Lawton man accused of beating his fiancée's son to death.

Jurors heard testimony from medical experts, including a doctor who specializes in child abuse pediatrics. He told jurors the child's injuries to his stomach were not consistent with a standing fall.

Charles Weimer has been charged with first-degree murder by child abuse. All along, Weimer has maintained the two-year-old died after falling down a flight of stairs.

The forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on John Paul Gonzales testified that the boy died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen, which was not consistent with a fall down a flight of stairs. The forensic pathologist also stated the patterned contusions on the upper abdomen, appeared to be consistent with an adult fist which made it appear as if the boy had been punched in the stomach.

Doctor Yacoub says the other injuries the boy suffered were several contusions on the top and sides of the head. She was asked by the prosecution if the head injuries could have been caused from a previous injury, to which she said it was possible but not likely because there was no evidence of healing at the time of the autopsy. Yacoub says she could not explain how his upper abdomen injuries could have come from a fall and said that his entire abdomen was injured from the front to the back.

Doctor John Stuemky, who specializes in child abuse pediatrics at OU Children's Hospital, told the jury that he agreed with the medical examiner's report, that the boy died from blunt force trauma. He says the injuries couldn't have happened too long before he was taken to the hospital because of the significant amount of blood loss. He said almost all of the boy's organs in his abdomen were bleeding and he would have gone into shock. He said the head injuries were below the scalp and would have been caused by massive force, which could not have come from him falling down the stairs or from him bumping into something. Dr. Stuemky stated in all his years of seeing toddlers that had fallen down stairs, he has never seen injuries consistent with the boy's and that if he would've fallen, he would have had scratches and cuts.

The doctor also told the jury that a child could fall down the stairs one hundred times and never suffer blunt force trauma to the abdomen. He went on to say that the pattern of injuries is typical of physical abuse injuries. He also said that the victim absolutely died from child abuse.

Court is now in recess for the weekend and the trial will continue next week.