An 8-year-old Baton Rouge boy whose mother is on trial in the 2013 death of his baby sister testified Wednesday he misses his mom but fears her boyfriend — the girl’s father — because he would beat the girl with a slipper and belt.
“Her daddy kept whoopin’ her and she would cry,” the boy, who now lives with foster parents, said of Larry D. Leflore on the second day of Ashley Heard’s trial on second-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile charges in the June 22, 2013, death of Aaliyah Heard.
“He whooped my little sister a lot,” the boy testified.
The girl was nearly 11 months old when she died. An autopsy disclosed bleeding on the brain, hemorrhaging in one eye, bruises to the face, a broken collarbone, rectal tearing, and what appeared to be old and fresh cigarette burns on her body.
Leflore, 28, of Baton Rouge, is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree cruelty and will be tried at a later date.
Heard, 30, faces an automatic sentence of life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. Second-degree cruelty to a juvenile carries up to 40 years behind bars.
The trial will resume Thursday.
Prosecutors have argued that even if Heard did not inflict the injuries found on Aaliyah, she was criminally negligent in allowing what happened to her infant daughter to occur and continue to occur.
Six days before her Sept. 11, 2013, indictment, Heard called the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office and told prosecutors her daughter’s rectal tearing was caused by constipation, and that a burn mark the size of a golf ball on her right thigh was a carpet burn.
In the recorded phone call, which the jury heard Wednesday, Heard claims she took her daughter to her pediatrician, Dr. Robert Feldman, for the alleged constipation and carpet burn.
But Feldman, who saw Aaliyah seven times between August 2012 and February 2013, testified he never treated the child for constipation or a burn. The doctor, who was shown a photograph of the burn, said he never saw such an injury on the girl and added that it did not look like carpet burn.
Dr. Melinda Frantz, a pediatric critical care physician who tried to save Aaliyah’s life after she was taken to Baton Rouge General Medical Center on June 21, 2013, testified the infant was essentially brain dead when she arrived at the emergency room.
Frantz said she documented three rectal tears on the child that were indicative of “some type of penetrating trauma.” She described the large burn on the girl’s thigh as a painful second-degree burn and said it was not a carpet burn.
Earlier Wednesday, Heard’s 8-year-old son waved at her with his tiny left hand, and she smiled back, as he walked into state District Judge Richard Anderson’s courtroom toward the witness stand.
The boy referred to Leflore as “D” and said his mother was always in their apartment when Leflore would come over. He said Leflore came to the apartment frequently and Aaliyah always cried when he did. Leflore was there the day she was rushed to the hospital, he added.
Assistant District Attorney David deBlieux asked the boy if he knew why he was brought to the 19th Judicial District Courthouse.
“I have to tell the truth about what happened to my little sister,” he answered without hesitation.
The boy, who said Aaliyah is now in heaven, testified he saw milk coming from her nose the day she was taken to the hospital.
Terrilyn Harris, a state Department of Children and Family Services case worker assigned to the boy, said he told her that Leflore whipped Aaliyah and hit her in the face with his open hands because the child refused to eat grits.
Jurors also saw two videotaped interviews that Heard gave Baton Rouge police on Sept. 11, 2013, and Sept. 12, 2013. In the first interview, Detective Sandra Watts accuses Heard of shedding crocodile tears.
“Not a tear coming out of your eyes,” Watts tells Heard.
“You look like you love him (Leflore) more than you love your children,” fellow Detective Kwouska Lee chimes in on the video.
In the second interview, Heard says Leflore had beaten her and also threatened her and her children.