Pastor testifies for defense in Smith's trial

BRISTOW — A pastor testified today that Raye Dawn Smith cried out to him at the hospital after her daughter died Oct. 11, 2005, asking, "Why did God take my baby?”

By Nolan Clay Modified: August 23, 2009 at 9:04 pm •  Published: July 17, 2007
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BRISTOW — A pastor testified today that Raye Dawn Smith cried out to him at the hospital after her daughter died Oct. 11, 2005, asking, "Why did God take my baby?”

Pastor Charles Pearcy told jurors he held Smith and said, "I don't know. Let's talk to Him and ask Him.” They then prayed together.

Pearcy, pastor at the Meeker Assembly of God church, was the sixth defense witness called during the child-abuse trial, now in its second week. Smith's attorneys today continued to try to show she did not behave like someone who would abuse or kill her daughter.

Smith, 27, is charged with child abuse or enabling child abuse. Her daughter, Kelsey Smith-Briggs, 2, died Oct. 11, 2005, at their home near Meeker. Kelsey was taken to the Prague hospital that afternoon in a failed effort to revive her.

Prosecutors allege the mother either hurt Kelsey herself or let her then-husband, Michael Lee Porter, hurt the girl. She denies wrongdoing. Her attorneys say Porter killed the girl.

The pastor said Smith has gone to the church off and on for years. He described how Smith reacted when told Kelsey's body would be autopsied. He said she said she was glad because she wanted to know what had happened to her baby.

He also told jurors Smith was allowed to hold Kelsey's body at the hospital. He described Smith as rocking and talking to "the dead baby.”

"I can never talk about this without choking up,” the pastor said. "I'll never forget it.”

The pastor testified Porter was at the hospital, also questioning why God took Kelsey. The pastor said Porter made an agonizing noise, bounced off the walls and beat his fists on the floor. Porter did not comfort his wife, jurors were told.

The pastor said he thought Porter was overreacting, that there was something that didn't seem right.

"It bothered me. It really troubled me that he was responding the way he was responding,” Pearcy said.


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