Day found guilty of second-degree cruelty to juvenile

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

It took a jury in state district court just under 1 1/2 hours Wednesday to convict a woman of abusing her stepson.

The jury of eight men and four women found Jaime Brooks Day, 31, guilty as charged of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile.

Prosecutors accused Day of brutally abusing and starving her stepson, who reportedly weighed 38 pounds at 9 years old when

he was taken from the Days in early 2010.

A little after 1 p.m., the jury sent a

request for a copy of Judge Clayton Davis’ instructions; photos of the

boy when he

was taken to the hospital; pictures he drew of the abuse; and some

other items of evidence — two over-the-door hooks, a rope

and a sock full of rice.

Davis, prosecutor Lori Nunn and defense

attorney Walt Sanchez agreed the jurors could have the items, but as

soon as the decision

was made, the jurors sent word they did not need the items. Within

minutes, they announced they had reached a verdict.

Davis did not release whether the

verdict was unanimous. In Louisiana, 10 of 12 jurors must agree for a

guilty verdict. The

jury could have returned verdicts of attempted second-degree

cruelty to a juvenile, cruelty to a juvenile or attempted cruelty

to a juvenile.

Testimony lasted six days as the prosecution called 16 witnesses and the defense called eight.

“I think the jury’s verdict was

appropriate,” District Attorney John DeRosier said. “Cases of this kind

are always difficult.

Both families, both sides of this equation, lose. It’s just

unfortunate that a young individual had to suffer through so much

of this. We simply will not and cannot tolerate this kind of

activity and treatment of young people in Calcasieu Parish. We’re

just not going to do that.”

Day faces up to 40 years in prison when she is sentenced on Dec. 10. She was allowed to see her three biological children

at the courthouse Wednesday before she was transported to the Calcasieu Correctional Center.

DeRosier said Davis will decide Day’s

sentence, but went on to say: “I think this is a very serious event

requiring a very

significant sentence. We need to demonstrate by the sentence, by

the guilty verdict, that we the people of Calcasieu Parish

will not allow, will not tolerate this type of activity, this kind

of treatment of children and our elderly in Calcasieu Parish.

We’re not going to do it.”

Day was arrested in March 2010, along with her husband, Murry Day. Murry Day was in court for Wednesday’s testimony and the

verdict.

DeRosier said that Murry Day “will face his criminal charges.”

Jaime Day’s stepson, who turned 13

during the trial, testified that Day starved him and brutally abused

him. He said she hung

him upside down by his ankles in the bathroom; burned him on the

back with a sock full of rice; had his younger half brother

help her Saran-wrap him to his bed; hit him in the face with a

dustpan; threw a screwdriver at him while he was bathing; burned

him with a blowdryer; and made him eat a handful of salt.

A psychologist who treated the boy, as well as two foster mothers who kept him after he was removed from the Day home, testified

that the boy repeated the same stories.

Nunn said the boy was consistent in the retelling of the abuse.

“He never varied on what happened and

how he got various injuries,” Nunn said. “He freely admitted that Jaime

Day forced him

to act up and to act crazy and to act psycho. He told that to

people over and over again, and also the way he got the various

scars that he has. He was always consistent.”

The boy explained scars all over his body during his testimony.

When the boy was taken to the hospital

in 2010, he was reportedly malnourished and dehydrated and showed signs

of hypothermia.

He reportedly had a bruise over his left eye, a blister on his

left ear, a burn scar on his back, ligature marks on his ankles

and a busted lip. Photos of the injuries were shown to the jury.

Day claimed that the boy was injuring himself and said she sought help for him.

He was being taken to a counselor and

was hospitalized three times within a month’s span in the fall of 2009

while in Day’s

care. On the stand Tuesday, she gave her account of how the boy

had received his scars. Sanchez said during closing arguments

that he did not know how the boy received the marks, but that the

story of Day hanging him upside down “never happened.”

Teachers and counselors at two schools the boy attended both said Day frequently contacted them through notes and phone calls

to tell them not to feed the boy beyond what she packed for him.

He said he was only allowed to eat grits and ramen noodles.

Day’s stepsister, Katie Day, testified that she called authorities in February 2010 after finding the skinny boy lying on

a pallet in his bedroom.

Jaime Day said the boy became a more picky eater in 2009 and would not eat anything but grits and ramen noodles.

The two foster mothers who kept the

child after he was taken from the Days both said he was a voracious

eater who would constantly

check the pantry and cabinets to make sure there was food.

DeRosier and Nunn said a video shot by Day turned out to be a critical piece of evidence. The video showed the boy on his

knees scratching his face and wailing. It was more than 20 minutes long, but only four minutes was shown in court.

DeRosier called it “devastating for the defense.”

In her closing argument, Nunn said Day “filmed her own confession.”

“The video was very powerful because it

demonstrated what the defendant was doing to this child, that she was

forcing him

to act out,” Nunn said. “He was crying, he was miserable and she

was filming the whole thing as if it was no big deal. That

was evidence that she supplied, and it completely corroborated

what (the boy) told the jury and told everybody else that he

talked to about what had happened to him.”

Sanchez declined to comment after the verdict, saying it is his policy not to discuss pending cases.