A man accused of killing a boy left in his care for several hours traded texts and calls with the boy's mother but never indicated the child was seriously injured, the woman testified this week.
Sara Babakhani of Edmond, cried throughout her testimony Wednesday in the murder trial of ex-boyfriend Rico Antwoine Berry.
Babakhani recounted for jurors how she returned from a day of classes at Langston University to find her 2-year-old son unresponsive and his lips blue.
She confronted Berry when she saw bruising on the boy's neck and head.
“I asked him a few times (what happened),” she testified. “He said he didn't know.”
The woman told the jury she had no concerns about leaving her son with Berry, who had moved in a week before the child's death. The couple had been dating for 10 months, she said.
Babakhani said she normally took the boy to day care but kept him home because he was sick.
Berry, 28, of Edmond, is charged with first-degree murder and child neglect in the Oct. 14, 2009, death of Jolen Babakhani.
In their opening statement, prosecutors said the boy suffered blunt force trauma to the head which caused irreparable brain damage. The boy also had “massive bruising” around his throat and forehead.
“He knew Jolen was injured and he never picked up that phone … or drove him to the hospital,” Assistant District Attorney SuAnne Carlson told the jury.
The prosecutor said Berry gave police three different versions of what happened, including one which he said he and the boy were wrestling and play fighting when he picked up the boy by his throat and body slammed him to the couch twice.
Assistant Public Defender Mark McCormick, in his opening statement, said the boy's mother encouraged Berry to roughhouse with her son. McCormick said the boy was injured when Berry threw him on the couch and he hit his head on the floor, adding the boy also hit his head on the coffee table after tripping over the defendant's leg.
“You haven't heard one shred of evidence,” the defense attorney told the panel.
Berry is expected to take the stand.