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Day 9: Defense and prosecution call final witnesses to the stand

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:21 PM CDT
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MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - Day 9 ended with the defense and prosecution calling their final witnesses to the stand.

Defense attorneys brought in Dr. Stephen Godfrey to testify. He’s a licensed anatomical and clinical pathologist from St. Louis, Missouri.

While on the stand, Godfrey stated that he believes Jurayah Smith’s cause of death is multiple blunt force trauma injuries to her head over a period of days.

Godfrey testified that medical and autopsy reports, photos, and other evidence that he’s looked at, including Jurayah’s brain tissue slides, does not indicate that she died from a single head injury.

He says the 14-month-old had a number of different head injuries that he believes caused her death.

The pathologist said it’s difficult for him to tell which one was the fatal injury, but he does say he believes the last head injury Jurayah received was fresh and happened within the last 24 hours of her dying.

Godfrey also testified that he cannot determine which injury caused Jurayah’s death, and that he cannot say for sure whether the death is homicidal or accidental.

As a result, he believes the manner of death is undetermined.

However, prosecutors called Dr. Jimmie Smith to the stand and he says otherwise.

Smith, who’s a pathologist from West Virginia, testified that Jurayah’s manner of death is a homicide.

According to Smith, Jurayah’s fatal head injury was fresh, and said she died not long after that injury happened.

In court, Smith also mentioned that just because Jurayah wasn’t showing any external injuries when she died does not mean she wasn’t suffering significant internal injuries.

Smith pointed to the Oct 21, 2017 video from a Vicksburg hospital where Jurayah was seen walking and appearing to be “fine,” according to those who were with her, hours before she died.

Smith says he didn’t see any signs of Jurayah having a fatal head injury in that video, and said the fatal injury had to have occurred afterwards.

However, Godfrey testified that she could have received those injuries at that time and not shown any symptoms.

The defendant, T’Kia Bevily, waived her right to testify in this trial.

Both sides are expected to present closing arguments next. Court is in recess until 9 o’clock Friday morning.

Previous Coverage:

Day 8: Doctors say Jurayah Smith’s manner of death was not homicide; prosecutors disagree
Day 5: Jurayah Smith’s great aunt called as a witness
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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