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Murder suspect says child was possessed
Riceboro couple in trial for child's death
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Witnesses continued to testify Thursday and Friday at the Liberty County Courthouse about the life and death of 31-month-old Prince C. Davis, who allegedly was murdered in January 2007.
Davis’ cousin, Andrea Renee Wilson, and her co-defendant, Corey Allan Brown, are charged with killing the child at their Riceboro home.
On Thursday afternoon, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Detective Charles Woodall returned to the stand and reviewed statements he collected from Wilson, which alluded to her belief that the child was acting out because he was possessed by a demon.
Woodall testified that he interviewed Wilson on Jan. 19, 2007, three days after Davis’ death. The detective said he spoke with Wilson for about an hour and then repeated the process shortly afterward. The second interview was taped as a record for the case.
“I tried to talk to them to get the information and then I put it on tape,” Woodall testified. “Well, things had changed in her interview from when I initially talked to her. She had made some statements to me that when I asked her specifically during the recorded interview, she changed her answers. So when she started talking this time about the devil and started making all kinds of noises and stuff, I decided at that point not to take that chance again, so I was going to record the rest of the interview regardless of what came out.”
“Looks like devil possessed and that’s for real,” Wilson said in the interview. “Eyes just popping out of his head and as soon as, you know, it’s over with, he all right.”
Wilson described several episodes where she thought the boy showed signs of demonic possession. On the day of the boy’s death, Jan. 16, 2007, Wilson said she placed a Bible on Davis’ stomach.
“Because he was doing all that ‘Ehhhh (sound)’ and shaking and hollering, every time I keep telling him, ‘You ain’t trying to listen, you ain’t trying to do the right thing.’ Soon as I say something like that he got to twitching, turning … That’s when I took the Bible and I prayed and I had it on Psalms 23rd. After I prayed, that is when I put it (the Bible) on him.”
“What happened when you put the Bible on him?” Woodall asked during the interview.
“His hand went straight out shaking … so I stood saying, ‘the name of Jesus rebuke this Satan.’ I’m saying that, ‘rebuke this Satan,’” Wilson said. “That is when his hand went down and he lay like that … he just laid to the side, head slumped back and sleeping, and I swear to you that is what I thought.”
On Friday afternoon, Georgia Bureau of Investigations Medical Examiner and Forensic Pathologist Dr. Jamie Downs spent more than two hours describing the young boy’s autopsy in detail. Davis’ lifeless body was depicted in a series of images as Downs explained the extent of the injuries he discovered.
He described injuries he found on the child’s brain that he said were caused by blunt force trauma. Downs talked about blood iron found in Davis’ eyes, marks across the boy’s body, a rotted toe and internal injuries within the cervical thoracic cavity.
He mentioned the boy appeared to be malnourished.
“Are you able to distinguish wounds that are self-inflicted to those that are not self-inflicted?” Atlantic Judicial District Attorney Tom Durden asked Downs.
“Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It would depend on the nature of the injury and the context,” Downs replied. “I look at cases in a totality … I couldn’t speak for one wound here and one wound there, but if you look at the totality, these are inflicted by someone else on this child.”
Durden asked if the wounds were accidental. Downs replied, “Again, individual wounds here or there, I couldn’t tell you about. I look at things in the totality and in the totality, these are inflicted injuries, not accidental injuries.”
The doctor said Davis was the victim of battered child syndrome, which is acute and chronic child abuse.
“There were basically several different types of abuse,” Downs said. “There was physical abuse, both acute and chronic; there was nutritional abuse, that is, he wasn’t getting proper nutrition; as well as medical neglect, from what I can see.”
Brown’s attorneys, Todd Wooten, Joseph Vigneri and Sharon Schiavetti, argued that Brown was not home at the time the child reportedly died. On Wednesday afternoon, Wilson’s cousin, Daniel West, testified that he saw, on at least two occasions, Brown hit the young boy’s back with his bare hands and a belt.
On Friday, Vigneri countered Downs, saying, “Would you agree with me that medicine is not so precise or so exact of a science as to permit only one opinion?”
“Well, there are certainly lots of opinions,” Downs said. “That is the point I was getting at earlier. There is a difference between fact and opinion. Facts are facts and people can interpret things different ways.”
The defense team is expected to call its own medical expert when the trial continues Monday morning. According to Liberty County Superior Court Judge D. Jay Stewart, the trial is expected to last until Wednesday.
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