Mother, boyfriend charged in beating death of 3-year-old

Charged with the beating death of a 3-year-old girl, her mother and her boyfriend were in court Tuesday.

Jasmine Gordon, 24, and her boyfriend Clifford Thomas, 33, appeared in Wayne County Circuit Court, listening to testimony.

"Her daughter was not breathing," witness Lakisha Thaxton said. "She was panicking that she wasn't breathing."

Thaxton described how her sister Gordon sounded last September as she rushed her 3 year-old daughter Jamila Smith to the hospital. 

The toddler wasn't breathing and the child's mother refused to say why.

The emergency medical technician said that she asked Gordon four times what happened to the girl and that she didn't answer.

"There was abrasion on right arm, there were healing abrasions on the forehead, the right temple region, the chest, the upper back (and) lower back," said Dr. Kilak Kesha, a forensic pathologist with the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office.

Prosecutors believe Gordon and her live-in boyfriend Thomas are responsible for 50 injuries found on Jamila's body.

Steve Bullock, Thomas' defense attorney asked Kesha if the toddler could have been injured on her own.

"That could have been caused by child herself," said defense attorney Steve Bullock. "Say running into some object?"

"You would have to be running into multiple objects, multiple times," Kesha said. 

The forensic pathologist testified the child also suffered from internal bleeding in the head, stomach and a torn pancreas.

Gordon broke down in court, but prosecutors claim she did nothing to save Jamila who would have showed symptoms of sepsis that ultimately led to her death.

Dwayne Smith, Jamila's dad, said when he asked Gordon how the girl died, she told him to "'look at the police report, she ran into wall.'"

Jamila's father testified a few weeks prior after her mom dropped her off, he noticed Jamila limping with bruising on her leg.

Gordon claimed it was a rash, while he contacted Child Protective Services, but did not hear back.

FOX 2 was told CPS had visited the house a couple weeks prior and felt Jamila, who had the mental capacity of a 1-year-old and her 7-year-old brother, appeared to be fine.

Defense attorneys argue it's still not clear what caused the injuries and point to a possible medical condition.

 "There are some very serious questions as to whether this child had some serious medical problems," said John McWilliams, one of Gordon's defense attorneys. "Which may in fact have resulted in the misdiagnosis and misunderstanding that this was child abuse."

The hearing will continue on Feb. 4. In the meantime the judge will hear video taped statements from both defendants and then make a decision on whether there is enough evidence to send them to trial when court resumes.

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