Last Modified: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 10:15 PM
Jaime Brooks Day, accused of physically abusing her stepson, took the stand in her own defense Tuesday afternoon. Day, 31, is standing trial in 14th Judicial District Court on one count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile.
The defense is expected to finish today, and prosecutor Lori Nunn will then cross-examine the defendant. Day was arrested, along with Murry Day, the boy’s father, in 2010 after authorities said they found the 9-year-old child malnourished and bruised. He reportedly weighed 38 pounds.
The boy testified last week that Day starved him; hung him upside down by his ankles in the bathroom; Saran-wrapped him to his bed; burned his back with a sock full of rice; burned him with a blowdryer; hit him with a dustpan; and threw a screwdriver at him.
Under questioning from defense attorney Walt Sanchez, Day said she never harmed the boy. “He’s my little boy,” she said. Day said he harmed himself, often hitting himself in the face with his doorknob or a book. “We’d go to bed at night and wake up and there would be new bruises,” she said.
Day disputed that she locked the boy in his room with a dog leash tied to another door. She said she would tie a rope to his doorknob and the other end to a hangar that would rest over the door of the next room in such a way that it would fall and make a noise that she could hear over a baby monitor if he left the room during the night. She showed the court how she would do it in a homemade video shot in March 2010. She and her mother had previously installed a battery-powered chime that would ring if the door was opened, but the child would knock it down and take the batteries out, she said.
The boy stuck the screwdriver in his own lip while bathing, she said. He called to her and she walked in to see the screwdriver hanging from his lip, she told the jury.
The scar where he claims she hit him with a dustpan was from him cutting himself with scissors, she said. Again, he called to her and she found him bleeding, she said.
She said the burn on the boy’s back was a wound he suffered when he jumped off the bed trying to hurt himself. In court Friday, her nephew also testified that the boy hurt himself jumping off the bed. She said she was sitting in the living room when she heard a loud noise.
Day said her nephew placed a heated sock full of rice, used as a heating pad, on the boy’s back as he lay watching TV. The incident happened around 2009, but the wound remained in 2010 because the child would scratch it on the carpet.
Day said she never hung the child by a hook in the bathroom or Saran-wrapped him to his bed. She said that during court testimony was the first time she heard that he claimed she forced him to eat a handful of salt. The boy ate normally for a while, but in the summer of 2009, he began to be more picky, Day said.
When Murry Day, who was often away working, returned home, the boy’s behavior worsened and he refused to eat anything but Ramen noodles and grits, she said. The boy and his father did not have a relationship and the boy would tell him, “You’re taking Mama J from me,” Jaime Day said.
She said she was concerned because the child was not eating.
Day said that communication with the boy’s school — which teachers and counselors testified last week was often to discuss what he was eating — was actually about his behavior. She didn’t want him being rewarded for bad behavior with treats, she said.
She regularly packed his lunch, at his request, and did not want to also pay for a school lunch, she said.
The Days hospitalized him in December 2009 because he stuck a metal coat hanger in his ear, first saying he had done it because his ear itched, then saying he had done it to quiet the voices, she said. He was hospitalized again when he threw a fit, and a third time after he stuck the screwdriver through his lip, Day said.
She said she and her husband were granted full custody of the boy in December 2008. She listed two incidents with the child’s biological mother: After he shot a child with a BB gun, an adult held a handgun to the boy’s head; he suffered a broken arm, but the biological mother did not have him treated.
She regularly gave the boy birthday parties, she said. In earlier testimony Tuesday, Karla Semien, a foster mother of the boy, said he told her he wasn’t allowed to have birthday parties.
She said he had a super-hero-themed birthday party for his fourth birthday; a party at Skate City for his fifth birthday,; a party at Millennium Park for his sixth birthday; a party at Putt-Putt for his seventh birthday; and a “Madagascar 2” birthday party for his eighth birthday. The Putt-Putt party was moved to Petro Bowl because of rain, and he was allowed to start the theater projector for the “Madagascar 2” party, she said.
A photo of him unwrapping a Power Wheel on his fourth birthday was shown in court.
In the fall of 2009, when he turned 9, he said he did not want a birthday party and would urinate on any presents he received, she testified. Still, Day said, the family went to Logan’s Roadhouse on his birthday. She said the boy also wrote, “I don’t want anything at all,” 15 times on his 2009 Christmas list. Sanchez presented the list as evidence.
Karla Semien, a foster mother who kept the boy after he was taken from the Days, said a worker with child services told her the case was high-profile and that she needed to watch her back.
The boy, who was one of several children at her house in 2010, would eat “24 hours a day,” Semien said. The boy would look in the pantry constantly to make sure there was food, she said.
One of other children told her he had hidden food in a duffel bag and taken it to his room, she said. It was early in the morning and she went and got the bag and set it on the table. He became upset and began screaming, yelling, hitting the wall, clawing his face, biting himself and throwing furniture, she said.
His demeanor then became calm and he said, “I’m going to do to you like I did to Jaime,” Semien read from a journal she kept.
She asked him what he meant and he said he was going to say that she was clawing him and not feeding him, because that’s what he did to Day so he could leave there and he now wanted to leave the Semien household, Semien said.
She said that because she couldn’t get him immediately hospitalized, she separated him from the other children and she or her husband monitored him for the weekend.
She said he also acknowledged to her that he told one of the other children that he was going to say her husband, Darrell, was the one hurting him. The child clawed his face, but never cut the skin, Semien said.
The boy would stand over the other children while they were sleeping, Semien said. The child said he had first heard a scratching sound in his head, like TV, then began hearing voices, Semien said.
He told her Day told him to act out in a video she shot of him crying, Semien said. Semien said he also told her that marks on his ankles were from Day tying him up; that Day told him to do jumping jacks in the hall; that Day had tried to drown him; that he hadn’t been allowed to play outside in a while; that he wasn’t allowed to have birthday presents or parties; that Day had burned his back with a bag of rice; that she had kicked him in the hallway; that she had thrown a screwdriver at him; told him to act out at school; and had him wear long-sleeve shirts and pants because he was so skinny.
The boy said he was worried that if Day got out of jail she would kill him, Semien said.
Posted By: Missy On: 11/14/2013
Title: Come on...
It really is irrelevant what we think, Jean.. However it matters what the jury thinks and the judge. Apprarently the evidence proved she is guilty. Anyone in their right mind, who didn't have blinders on, can see that. People very close to the case saw the writing on the wall. Child Services was contacted way before he was rescued. It's sad but true...Jaime Day abused that child. I know it's hard for one to believe that someone they care for is capable of such a heartless act. It's true though. I wish it weren't for that childs sake.
Additionally, the child's name has not been released. How can you in good faith, report his name here on the internet? How heartless can you be?
Posted By: Jean Sikes On: 11/13/2013
I don't believe a word that woman says. That child was staving or he would have weighed more than 38lbs.Hope she gets what gave out to him God be with that little boy hope he will a strong young man I am sure everyone is praying for him please do!