Last Modified: Friday, November 22, 2013 6:58 PM
The father of a boy prosecutors said was abused by his stepmother pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact to second-degree cruelty to a juvenile.
Murry Dalton Day, 33, 884 Melanie Ave., entered the plea Thursday in 14th Judicial District Court. He cried as prosecutor Lori Nunn read the statement of facts.
Jaime Brooks Day, 31, was found guilty on Nov. 13 of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. The boy testified during her trial that she starved him, hung him upside down by his ankles in the bathroom, burned him on the back with a sock of rice, Saran-wrapped him to his bed, threw a screwdriver at his face and burned him with a blowdryer.
When he was brought to the hospital in early 2010, the 9-year-old reportedly weighed 38 pounds, was so malnourished that hair had begun to grow all over his body and was badly bruised.
Jaime Day faces up to 40 years in prison when she is sentenced Dec. 10.
“(Murry Day) was less culpable than his co-defendant, much less culpable than Jaime Day,” Nunn told Judge Clayton Davis.
Murry Day was originally indicted on one count of second-degree cruelty and two counts of cruelty.
Nunn said Murry Day cooperated with law enforcement and the state during Jaime Day’s trial and has a “somewhat limited” mental capacity. He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced March 26.
Between July 2009 and January 2010 (the timeframe in which Jaime Day is alleged to have abused the boy), Murry Day was often away working in north Louisiana, Nunn said.
In January 2010, he quit his job in north Louisiana and returned home out of concern for the boy, specifically his son’s dropping weight, Nunn said.
Murry Day changed counselors and threw out the grits and Ramen noodles in the home — which prosecutors claimed were the only thing Jaime Day allowed the boy to eat — and insisted he eat regular food like pizza, cheeseburgers and fast food, Nunn said.
When the boy refused to eat those foods, Murry Day would fix him grits and Ramen noodles, but in larger portions than Jaime Day would allow the boy to have, Nunn said.
Murry Day soon realized that Jaime Day was “full of lies,” Nunn said.
“We would expect that a reasonable person would have taken action sooner than he did and have asked more questions, but I think that can be explained by his diminished mental abilities, that it would just take him longer to catch on than it would your ordinary reasonable person of intelligence,” Nunn said.
Murry Day did not inflict any injury to the boy, she said.
“He was out of the home for most of the time that Jaime was abusing (the boy), and he was relying on what she told him, and it turned out that she was lying to him,” Nunn said. “He quit his job and came home to try to help his child. He did everything he could to get his child to eat, everything he could to get him help.”
Defense attorney Ralph Williams declined comment.