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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/> He said Porter seemed to have a tremendous amount of guilt. He said Porter explained he was left with Kelsey at the house and thought the child was having a seizure. The pastor said Porter claimed he tried to revive her by giving the child CPR.

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

Porter, 27, denies hurting Kelsey and told jurors last week he believes his ex-wife is responsible for Kelsey's death. She had left him with Kelsey to pick up his own daughter, Whitney, after he arrived home from work.

The two divorced after Kelsey died. He also told jurors he saw Smith 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 have described how Porter threatened suicide two days after Kelsey died. Smith's attorneys contend he was faking.

Porter at first had a gun and then there was a concern he had overdosed on Tylenol in the bedroom, witnesses said. Tylenol pills were later found hidden underneath a bed and a nightstand, according to testimony.

Jurors have been told Kelsey suffered repeated injuries, including broken bones and bruises, in the months before her death. She was taken from her mother for awhile and later split time between her mother and paternal grandmother. She later spent about six weeks at her maternal grandmother's house before being returned to her mother in mid-June 2005.

Defense attorneys wanted to call as a witness Craig Key, the former Lincoln County associate district judge who ordered Kelsey returned to her mother. The trial judge, Paul Vassar, ruled Key could not testify.

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