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Witness testifies mom tossed Kelsey into car

By Nolan Clay Modified: July 14, 2007 at 6:21 am •  Published: July 14, 2007
BRISTOW — Jurors were told Friday that Kelsey Smith-Briggs once blurted out that her new stepfather, "Daddy Mike,” hurt her head but her mother laughed off the toddler's statement.

Jurors also heard from a recently discovered witness who described seeing the mother spank Kelsey three times, then "just toss” the child into the back of a car late in the summer of 2004. "That was disturbing,” the witness said.

The testimony came on the trial's fifth day as prosecutors moved closer to wrapping up their case against Raye Dawn Smith. Her daughter, Kelsey, 2, died on Oct. 11, 2005, at their home near Meeker.

The child-abuse trial is set to resume at 9 a.m. Monday.

Prosecutors allege the mother either abused Kelsey herself or allowed her then-husband, Michael Lee Porter, to abuse the child. Smith, 27, denies wrongdoing.

The rambunctious girl died even though the Department of Human Services, a judge and a private child-welfare worker were overseeing her care.

Jurors have been told Kelsey suffered broken bones and bruises to the face and body repeatedly in the last months of her life. Prosecutors have put on evidence Kelsey was at her mother's those times when she was hurt. Prosecutors also have sought to establish the mother covered up the abuse by blaming injuries on such accidents as a fall at the zoo or a pickup wreck.

Kelsey made the complaint about her stepfather on May 18, 2005, during a time her mother only got supervised visits with the girl, at the Department of Human Services office in Lincoln County, according to the testimony Friday.

Kelsey had been placed in DHS custody two weeks earlier after a doctor concluded her broken legs came from abuse. A judge later returned Kelsey to her mother.

A DHS child-welfare aide told jurors Friday she monitored Kelsey's visit with the mother May 18, 2005, and overheard Kelsey say "out of the blue ... Daddy Mike hurt my head.” The aide, Annette Swinford, said the mother laughed and told Kelsey that "Daddy Mike” couldn't have hurt her head because "he's not been around you.”

Smith and Porter wed on April 18, 2005, in Shawnee. They divorced after Kelsey's death. He once was charged with sexually abusing and murdering Kelsey but pleaded guilty to enabling child abuse. He still denies hurting Kelsey but said he saw his ex-wife abuse her three times.

The new witness, Gene Snider, testified he saw a screaming Smith swat Kelsey three times with some force inside the entrance of the Rainbow convenience store in Meeker in the summer of 2004.

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