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Little boy testifies against sister's accused killer
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
The brother of a 3-year-old girl prosecutors said died at the hand's of her mother's boyfriend testified Wednesday in the man's trial.
The little boy said he saw his mother's boyfriend punch the girl twice.
The 7-year old described to jurors holding his sister, Ja'Kyra Henderson, on the morning of Jan. 15, 2012. She was at an assisted living center where her mother was employed. The mother had brought Ja'Kyra, the girl's brother and her boyfriend there while she was working. The boy was 5 years old at the time.
The boy said the boyfriend, Stephen Odom, got up to go to the restroom. The boy said Odom place Ja'Kyra on his lap. Her brother said he put his ear on her chest to see if she was breathing. He testified he just "tapped and tapped and tapped," and he heard her heart. But when his mother checked on her, the boy said "her heart wasn't beeping anymore."
When attorney's asked if he ever saw Odom hit his sister in the stomach, he said yes and twice. At one point, the boy showed jurors how he said he saw Odom punch her. He described getting "whoopings" at the hands of Odom when he couldn't tie his shoes or when Ja'Kyra struggled with potty training. He said Ja'Kyra told him she wanted her mother and wanted to tell her that Odom had been hitting her.
The boy was just one witness in an emotional day of testimony exactly two years after Ja'Kyra's death. Her family wore shirts filled with pictures of the little girl. Relatives of both Ja'Kyra and Odom filled Judge John Stevens' courtroom.
The jury also heard from a pediatrician and a woman who called Crimestoppers. That woman said the little boy told her he was afraid of Odom and saw him kick and punch Ja'Kyra in the stomach.
An investigator testifying said that Crimestoppers tip re-opened the investigation.
A consulting pediatrician testified, saying "it would take the strength of an adult to induce those injuries."
Relatives of Odom disagreed. They said there's not enough evidence and point to discrepancies in the child's story. They said Odom "thought that the child was his and treated it like it was his."
If convicted, Odom could face up to life in prison on one charge and up to 20 years on a second charge. The trial continues Thursday.