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Day 4: Jurayah Smith’s mother takes the stand

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT
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MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - No cameras were allowed in the courtroom Thursday for the T’Kia Bevily murder trial after everyone was searched Wednesday for audio or listening devices.

Testimony continued for Bevily, who is accused of killing 14-month-old Jurayah Smith. Day four saw prosecutors call four different witnesses to the stand, including DeDreuna Smith, who’s Jurayah’s mom.

DeDreuna began shedding tears and became emotional once prosecutors showed her photos of her now deceased daughter.

While on the stand, she pointed out that her 14-month-old did receive injuries before while in the care of T’Kia Bevily and her husband Morris Bevily, who’s Jurayah’s father. The 14-month-old died in October of 2017.

In court Thursday, DeDreuna testified that in July of that same year, her daughter received a black eye and scrapes and scratches on her face.

She says the two incidents happened within days of each other.

The mother stated that Bevily told her Jurayah got those injuries while still learning how to walk on the concrete at their home.

While on the witness stand, DeDreuna said while in her care, Jurayah never received those kinds of injuries when she was learning how to walk.

She even stated that her daughter didn’t have any issues walking, saying she walked just fine.

However, defense attorneys argued that incident doesn’t show neglect on T’Kia’s part. Attorney Lawrence Blackmon stated that Jurayah was taken to a medical clinic to be treated and reports show those injuries did not come from any abuse.

Also during Thursday’s trial, prosecutors showed what they say are some of the last moments of Jurayah being alive. Video shows Jurayah walking with family members in a Vicksburg hospital.

One person walking with jurayah was be cousin Ebony Skinner.

While walking with Jurayah that day, Skinner stated the 14-month-old appeared to be fine, not showing any signs that she was harmed and something was wrong with her.

Defense attorneys continued to argue that Jurayah received her deadly head injuries while in the care of one of the at least ten other people who had her prior to her dying on October 22nd 2017.

On Wednesday, Judge Tamika Irving banned all cameras and electronics from inside the courtroom.

On Thursday, Blackmon brought his phone inside during the trial. The judge fined him $500 for that offense.

Judge Irving also tacked on a $1,000 fine after she says Blackmon made a snide comment toward the prosecution.

Along with DeDreuna and Skinner, Destiny Neal, Jurayah’s cousin, and Dr. Mark LeVaughn, who conducted the autopsy on the 14-month-old, also took the stand to testify on Thursday.

Court resumes at 9 o’clock Friday morning.

Previous Coverage:

Day 3: Request for mistrial denied in T’Kia Bevily murder trial
Day 2: Tempers flare as testimony begins in T’kia Bevily murder trial
Trial begins for T’Kia Bevily, accused of killing 14-month-old stepdaughter

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