Witnesses say both the mother and father of a baby who died of child abuse last fall have unsavory incidents in their past involving abuse or rough handling of children.
On Friday, Judge Paula Martin ruled that testimony about those prior incidents can be used at the upcoming trial for the baby's father, Jay D. Decker.
Decker, 27, is due to stand trial starting Nov. 13 for the death of 5-month-old Risha Lafferty in October 2005 at Edgewood Homes, 1600 Haskell Ave. A previous trial ended in a mistrial on the last day when a police interview surfaced that hadn't been sent to prosecutors.
Decker's attorneys are trying to shift the blame to the baby's mother, Brandi Hendrickson. Martin decided to allow a family friend's testimony that she had seen Hendrickson handle the couple's older child roughly out of frustration - what defense attorneys termed "jolting" the child.
But Martin also ruled that Hendrickson could testify about a 2003 incident in Texas, in which she alleges Decker choked the couple's older child after he had been drinking.