The trial of Kenneth Ray Willis, a Shreveport man accused of second-degree murder in the 2007 death of his infant son, continued in Caddo District Court Wednesday, May 22, 2019, and will continue there Thursday.
Monday, May 20, 2019, and the following day saw the opening of the trial with the selection of the jury, six men and six women, with one male alternate and one female alternate.
Wednesday, the state and defense gave opening statements in District Judge Charles Tutt’s courtroom. The state called the mother of the 37-day-old victim of a fatal beating. She testified about leaving the child home alone with Willis, 35, about the baby being placed on life support, the decision to take him off life support and her holding the baby as he died in her arms.
Two of the dead child’s grandparents, testified about babysitting the victim, their first grandchild.
Also Wednesday the state presented TuDerrick Austin, a paramedic for the Shreveport Fire Department, who testified about rendering aid when the child was in full cardiac arrest, and who related that the infant had signs of trauma, blood in his throat and was unresponsive. In addition, a number of doctors who rendered aid to the child and a second victim testified. The doctors, experts in the fields of neuroscience radiology, radiology, pediatrics and adult and pediatric critical care, consistently testified that both children’s injuries were the result of someone shaking them. One expert, Dr. Louie Keith Scott of Oschner, stated that the deceased child’s case was a “poster child case” of shaken baby. Another expert, Dr. Jennifer Cockrell, stated this was a “clear cut” case of child abuse. Each doctor testified that the injuries amounted to child abuse.
The trial will resume Thursday, May 23, 2019, with witnesses to include Dr. Frank Peretti, an Arkansas medical examiner, who autopsied the victim, as well as other police witnesses to testify about their investigation.
The state’s case-in-chief relates to the baby who died. The state is using the abuse case as “other crimes, wrongs, and acts evidence,” according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors are Assistant District Attorneys Ron Stamps, Bill Edwards, Britney Green and Sam Crichton. Willis is being defended by Mary Harried and Michael Enright.