Jury deliberations continued at press time last Monday evening, February 18 in the murder trial of Kayla Lord and Jared Futrell. The two were charged in connection with the July 2011 death of Lord’s son, 17-month-old Staten Stephenson.
The case actually went to the jury late Monday afternoon, a week after the panel was selected in Wayne Circuit Court.
Opening arguments in the case began on Tuesday, February 12, when prosecutors stated that the toddler died of four separate injuries to his head and stomach. They discussed what they called a pattern of abuse that occurred to the toddler.
“He had various bruises and scrapes and things like that on his body,” stated Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Leveridge, as he addressed the jury that included eight men and six women.
Prosecutors said that when Staten was brought into the hospital on July 16, 2011, his body temperature had dropped more than 18 degrees.
“When he arrived his stomach was extended and swollen; he was having trouble breathing,” stated Leveridge.
A statement that Lord made, right after her son died at the University of Kentucky Hospital, became part of the Commonwealth’s case, as they began to present evidence.
“Me and some of the other nurses heard the mother say, ‘I killed him,’” said Dr. Brent Elmore, who was the doctor who took the toddler off life support.
Defense attorney Jim Cox argued that statement was made while Lord was crying after she agreed to take the boy off life support. His argument is that Lord and Futrell rushed Staten to the hospital after a severe choking incident and some other injuries may have occurred while they were trying to help him.
“They were grasping at anything because they did not understand. They did not know. All they knew is that we have to help him and to get him revived,” Cox said.
The defense concluded testimony in the case on Monday morning, February 18, and closing statements were made by the attorneys that afternoon.
Extra security was on hand at Wayne County High School on Thursday, February 14, as school officials and local authorities investigated a “list of dares” game that was allegedly being played by some students.
According to a statement issued by the Wayne County School District on Thursday, the investigation into the game resulted in a rumor that a weapon was brought to the high school.
School officials assured parents that this was only a rumor and there was no evidence to substantiate it.
Superintendent John Dalton assured parents that students were safe at school and police officers and school administrators were on site to deal with the situation.
School officials asked for the parents’ assistance in talking with their students about the game and counseling them about the dangers of being involved in a game like this.
The list of pranks allegedly continued to grow to include dangerous and illegal activities, according to a statement from the school.