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Smith weeps during testimony about Kelsey's injuries

BRISTOW — Raye Dawn Smith wept again today as jurors saw autopsy photos and diagrams of the bruises, scrapes and other injuries to her dead daughter’s body.

By Nolan Clay Modified: August 23, 2009 at 9:03 pm •  Published: July 10, 2007
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Porter, 27, is expected to testify this afternoon.

Smith, 27, is not charged with murder. Instead, prosecutors want jurors to find her guilty either of child abuse or of enabling child abuse. If convicted, she faces up to life in prison.

Porter, her former husband, was charged with murder and child sexual abuse but pleaded guilty only to enabling child abuse. He is serving 30 years in prison.

Smith’s attorney, Steve Huddleston, told jurors Monday that Porter was responsible for Kelsey’s death. He said Smith now realizes she made a horrible mistake to marry him. They are now divorced.

He said Smith did not abuse Kelsey and did not allow anyone else to abuse the girl.

“She loved her daughter and her daughter was her life,” the defense attorney said.

He told jurors Smith was wrongly blamed for earlier injuries to Kelsey because of the longstanding animosity between Smith’s family and Kelsey’s father’s family. He said Kelsey was in the middle of two families making accusations against each other while “Mr. Porter stood in the shadows.”

Smith and Kelsey’s father , Lance Briggs, divorced before she was born. He was returning from military duty in Iraq when Kelsey died.

Today, before the autopsy photos were shown, the district attorney spoke with Briggs in the courtroom about what was coming up. Briggs left. Briggs said later that prosecutors had promised to warn him when disturbing testimony was coming.

Jurors were selected Monday. The 12 jurors consist of seven women and five men. Nine have children of their own.v They include an Oklahoma Highway Patrol secretary, a remodeling contractor, a retiree, a “stay-at-home mom,” a hospital worker, a chicken restaurant worker and a former counselor at the Tulsa Boys’ Home.

They were dressed casually Monday. One man wore shorts and a “Coors Light” T-shirt. A woman wore a T-shirt that said, “Going to My Happy Place. Back Soon.”

There were two alternates selected.

Creek County sheriff’s deputies provided extra security for the high-profile case. Spectators had to pass through a metal detector from the jail to enter the courtroom.

The trial was moved from Chandler because the judge feared publicity about the case would make it difficult to find impartial jurors there.

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Raye Dawn Smith, 27, sits on a bench outside the courtroom in Bristow's Municipal Building during the lunch recess of her trial's first day. At Smith's left is her mother's back. By JIM BECKEL, THE OKLAHOMAN

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