Archive for Friday, July 14, 2006

Preparations continue for man’s child abuse murder trial

Attorneys discuss number of photographs to show of slain infant

July 14, 2006


Final trial preparations are under way in the case of a Lawrence man charged with murdering his infant daughter through repeated child abuse.

Defense and prosecutors were in court this morning arguing about how many photos of infant Risha Lafferty's body should be allowed at the upcoming murder trial of her father, Jay D. Decker.

His attorneys opposed the state's request to enter five photos of the baby's bruised body into evidence, arguing it was repetitive and likely to prejudice the jury. But Judge Paula Martin agreed with prosecutors, who argued the photos were permissible because they each showed different injuries and were taken from different angles.

"It's always disturbing to see a photo of a deceased child, but I don't think that five is an unacceptable or prejudicial number," Martin said.

Decker, 27, is scheduled to stand trial starting July 31.

Background on the case:

Risha's mother, Brandi Mae Hendrickson, and Decker moved into Edgewood Homes, 1600 Haskell Ave., in mid-August after coming to Lawrence from Miami County.

When Hendrickson got a job, Decker stayed home and cared for Risha and the couple's 2-year-old daughter. Hendrickson has testified Risha suffered repeated injuries while under Decker's care in roughly the month leading up to her Oct. 14 death.

When Decker called emergency crews to the home that day, he told police Risha had fallen off the bed and suddenly stopped breathing.

But at a preliminary hearing in February, Coroner Erik Mitchell testified that Risha died of "deliberate injuries of force to the head." He said she had a fractured skull, bruises under her scalp, signs of being shaken and 35 bruises or other external injuries.

Hendrickson has been charged with felony child endangerment for failing to report the girl's earlier injuries, but she's agreed to testify against Decker in exchange for a misdemeanor plea.

For more on this story, see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's channel 6 and pick up a copy of Saturday's Journal-World.


egypt 11 years, 11 months ago

why didnt the mother say anything about the previouse abuse that had happened to the child?

OfficeGirl 11 years, 11 months ago

Was it OK for her kids to be abused until one of them was killed? Or were there acceptable degrees of abuse that she was OK with? I don't understand. There are many reliable methods of birth control available to everyone regardless of income. Abortions are legal for those who don't want to give birth or raise children and haven't figured out birth control. Adoption is a better option for those who don't want to raise children and haven't figured out birth control. Why keep a child if you are only going to make them wish they were dead until the day that you kill them? What a miserable life that baby must have had. Death was maybe a relief for her--no one to hit or shake or yell at her anymore. How horribly sad.

jennifermarti 11 years, 11 months ago

This isn't about abortion. It's about a child being beaten to death slowly; while her mother did nothing to protect her. Not the same thing!

OfficeGirl 11 years, 11 months ago

Please. I absolutely did not mean to start an ugly debate on abortion. I simply meant that there were other options available and really any of them would have been better for this child than for her to have to have lived the short and awful life that she did at the hands of a father who routinely abused her and a mother who was no better as she condoned it by doing nothing. I wonder if she ever knew anything of being loved in her short existence on earth or if it was all just scary and painful, over and over and over. That's what makes me sick.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

child dead man going to trial mom destroyed, sad all the way around. Maybe mom was scared maybe she just did not care who knows but he will pay that is a for sure.

coolmom 11 years, 11 months ago

my parents were turned in in lawrence 14 times to social services and nothing was ever done. a sibling has had their children removed and we have custody of them they were turned in 21 times. srs still may give them or some of them back it is a large and complicated problem. wouldnt want to impinge on some child abusers rights and most of the kids are not killed. i remember wishing they would kill me and get it over with. wish the mom had to serve just as much time as the dad. mostly i just hope that little girl is in a better place,

spammer89 11 years, 11 months ago

I say they should fry the S.O.B., what kind of weak azz person is not man enough to hit someone his own size but is man enough to beat a baby. Really I would like a little time with the S.O.B.

OfficeGirl 11 years, 11 months ago

In any case involving child abuse or molestation, I always hope for them to have a cell in general population where everyone knows why they are there. Most other criminals will not tolerate a child abuser or molester. They would take care of it and save the taxpayers a whole lot of money.

jennifermarti 11 years, 11 months ago

It would be nice for someone to take care of it. Because it's not like the government is stepping up and protecting our children from abuse or sex offenders. All of us are living among hundreds of convicted sex offenders and probably don't even know it. It's disgusting!

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

I've heard that, too, OfficeGirl. Unfortunately, it seems that there are more and more cases of sexual and physical abuse of children all the time. Pretty soon, the child molestors and child beaters will be the majority of the inmates.

OfficeGirl 11 years, 11 months ago

If people who abuse/molest children someday become the majority of inmates along with rapists and murderers, that will make me feel that perhaps we are finally headed in the right direction with our prison systems. It costs taxpayers way too much money each year to house people who do not deserve to freely walk this earth with those of us who are decent and do no harm to others. People who abuse/molest children and rape and murder should never see the light of day again--be it from a jail cell or otherwise.

amazed 11 years, 11 months ago

Just kill him and get it over with. Loser.

Confrontation 11 years, 11 months ago

Judge Martin feels it's disturbing to see a photo of a deceased child, but she's just fine with excusing child rape. What a judge!!!

momoftwo 11 years, 11 months ago





Sigmund 11 years, 11 months ago

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