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Day 5: Jurayah Smith’s great aunt called as a witness

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 10:17 PM CDT
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MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - Friday marked Day 5 in the capital murder trial for T’Kia Bevily.

The Claiborne County woman is accused of killing her 14-month-old stepdaughter, Jurayah Smith.

During day five of the trial, prosecutors called three witnesses to the stand - all who are believed to be among some of the last people to see Jurayah alive. This included her great aunt, Antoinette Skinner.

She kept Jurayah and saw her hours before she died.

She testified about Jurayah’s condition when she last saw and interacted with her. She says the 14-month-old did not sustain any head injuries while in her care.

Skinner also stated that Jurayah was fine, and didn’t have any bumps or bruises on her face or body.

However, defense attorneys focused on a statement Skinner gave to investigators following Jurayah’s death that they say contradicts her claim.

In that statement, Skinner said Jurayah had a knot on her head when she last saw her.

While on the stand, Skinner stated that she misspoke during her initial interview, saying the knot she was referring to happened weeks prior to Jurayah’s death and that by the time she saw her again, the knot had turned into a little red dot on her forehead.

Skinner says Jurayah received the injury while in the care of Morris and T’Kia Bevily, but she did not say how.

Prosecutors still have at least two more witnesses to interview next week, including Dr. Scott Benton, who practices pediatric forensic studies. He plans to use his expertise to give insight on the deadly head injuries Jurayah received.

Benton said after examining medical and the autopsy reports, he believes the head injuries the 14-month-old received were not accidental, pre-existing, or self inflicted. He stated they are homicidal.

Defense attorney Dennis Sweet asked for this doctor to be excluded from testifying.

However, Judge Tomika Irving says Benton’s testimony is reliable and credible for this case and will be used. Court is in recess until 9 o’clock Monday morning.

Previous Coverage:

Day 4: Jurayah Smith’s mother takes the stand
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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