Last defense witness testifies in abuse trial

BRISTOW — The mother of Kelsey Smith-Briggs sobbed, "I don't understand. Help me,” in court Wednesday after jurors found her guilty of allowing the girl to be abused.

By Nolan Clay Modified: August 23, 2009 at 9:07 pm •  Published: July 18, 2007
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Th
e pastor said Porter claimed he tried to save her with CPR.

"He said, ‘I just hope I wasn't too rough with her,'” the pastor said.

Another witness, former Prague police officer Scott Murrison, said he saw Porter pounding the bed of a pickup outside the hospital. The former officer recalled Porter saying, "She's never going to forgive me. She's never going to forgive me.”

Porter, 27, denies hurting Kelsey. He told jurors last week he thinks his ex-wife is responsible for Kelsey's death. He said he discovered Kelsey was in bed not breathing shortly after his wife left him alone with the girl.

The two divorced after Kelsey died. He also told jurors he saw his ex-wife abuse Kelsey three times.

Porter is serving 30 years in prison. He once was charged with sexually assaulting and murdering Kelsey but pleaded guilty instead to enabling child abuse under a deal with prosecutors.

Other defense witnesses described how Porter threatened to commit suicide two days after Kelsey died. Smith's attorneys contend he was faking.

Porter at first had a gun in the bedroom of his house and then was believed to have overdosed on Tylenol pills there, witnesses said.

During the trial, jurors were told Kelsey suffered repeated injuries in the months before her death. She was taken from her mother for a while and later split time between her mother and paternal grandmother, Kathie Briggs. She later spent about six weeks at her maternal grandmother's house before being returned to her mother in mid-June 2005.

Her mother took Kelsey to a Shawnee medical clinic on April 25, 2005, after the child returned from Briggs' house and couldn't walk, according to testimony. Doctors there found she had broken both shin bones. Doctors later concluded the broken legs were caused by abuse.

Defense witnesses also have told jurors the mother mostly used timeouts to discipline Kelsey. Two of Smith's sisters, a sister-in-law and a friend testified Tuesday they were often around Porter and saw nothing that would indicate to them he was capable of abuse.


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