DAYTON — The murder trial of the babysitter accused of killing an infant in West Carrollton has begun after being halted late last year.
Charles Pulley III, 19, was charged in early 2021 with two counts of murder, one count of felony assault, one count of manslaughter and two counts of child endangerment. He is accused of killing Averi Grabans, who died of blunt force trauma to the head on August 23, 2020.
A jury had previously been selected for the trial, but the trial was delayed in December when Pulley fired his attorney and told the court he planned to defend himself.
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News Center 7’s Mike Campbell was in the courtroom Monday for Pulley’s trial. He reported that Pulley, representing himself. did not make an opening statement in the morning session, but in the afternoon session a defense attorney was in place.
A coroner’s office investigator said the 6-week-old girl suffered two bruises to her forehead, a contusion on the top of her head, a fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage.
“Usually all of these things don’t happen accidentally, but when force is applied to the skin,” Dr Anna Richmond, a medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Grabans, told the court.
On August 20, Grabans’ mother left work to come home and take the baby to the hospital after receiving a text message from Pulley, according to court records.
The text message contained a photo that made Grabans’ mother believe the baby needed to go to the hospital immediately.
Family members said Grabans was injured while Pulley was babysitting her.
Court records obtained by News Center 7 showed Grabans’ mother first noticed bruising on the baby the night before she was taken to hospital, when she picked her up from Pulley’s. Grabans died of her injuries a few days later.
West Carrollton police have launched an investigation after hospital officials became suspicious of the injuries.
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The coroner’s office ruled her death a homicide due to multiple blunt trauma and said she could not have inflicted it on herself.
“She’s too young, a six-week-old is not mobile, not capable of inflicting injuries of this nature on her own,” Richmond said.
The prosecution then presented several home videos made by Pulley, ostensibly to show how the injuries could have occurred accidentally. In one of the videos, Pulley could be seen dancing down a hallway with a doll and possibly knocking a door jam.
In another video, Pulley showed the child falling from a couch onto the floor. A third video showed him dropping a cell phone on the doll’s head.
The prosecution asked Richmond if any of these potential scenarios caused the injuries that claimed Grabans’ life.
“That, by itself, would not explain the extent of Averi’s injuries, or the location of the injuries,” Richmond said.
Pulley’s trial is expected to last another two or three days. Now that he has a lawyer representing him, it is unclear whether he will take the stand in his own defense.
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