EMTs Testify in Kansas Child Abuse Trial


 
 

Ron Sylvester | | Thursday, January 17, 2008


WICHITA, Kan. -- Asa Adams hopes a jury will believe her 20-month-old toddler died accidentally.

But prosecutors say Shymir Turner's injuries were too severe to be accidental. Adams, 19 at the time Shymir died, went on trial Tuesday in Wichita, charged with felony murder.

Doctors who worked to save the toddler are expected to testify today before Sedgwick County District Judge Terry Pullman.

On Tuesday, emergency medical technicians who responded to Adams' frantic 911 call May 16 recounted the injuries they saw.

Shymir had bruises on her head, ligature marks on her throat and second- and third-degree burns down her legs, they testified.

Marc Bennett, assistant district attorney, told the jury in his opening remarks that the marks on Shymir's neck resembled a grasp, "as if pressure had been applied to the child's neck."

The patterns of burns on her legs also don't match what Adams told police about the child falling while taking a bath, he said.

"You'll hear about stocking-like burns -- that's how the doctors describe them," Bennett said. "It looks like a bright red pair of socks, as if the child had been dipped into this scalding-hot water."

The ambulance arrived at the apartment in the 1200 block of South Market at 5:19 p.m.

EMT Chad Maugans found Shymir sitting in a chair, unresponsive.

"She had what we call a thousand-yard stare," Maugans said.

The child appeared to have difficulty breathing, as Adams had hysterically told the 911 dispatcher during her call.

What emergency crews didn't know about were the burns on the toddler's legs and feet, Maugans testified.

"The skin was literally falling off her legs," he said.

Firefighter Josh Mullen said Adams told him such sloughing of Shymir's skin had happened before.

"I wondered what she meant," Mullen testified. "This sort of thing shouldn't happen all the time."

Mullen said he'd only seen it with severe burns.

At the hospital, Wichita Police Officer Ian Wolfe asked Adams about the burns. He said Adams told him that her children had sensitive skin.

"She said she didn't know why the hospital staff was saying there were burns," Wolfe testified.

Public defender Ken Newton told the jury in his opening statements that Adams was a young mother who had been abused by the children's father, was often left alone with Shymir and a newborn, and turned to drugs to keep up with the babies.

About 40 minutes after medical crews went to Adams' apartment, Wichita police sent Officer Naomi Arnold to the home. Arnold testified she felt a blast of heat as she opened the bathroom door.

"It was like walking into a sauna," she said.

Later, Officer Kent Bauman testified that he and crime scene investigator Eugene Jacobs ran the water through the tub faucet for a few seconds and took the temperature.

It measured 138 degrees, he said.

Reach Ron Sylvester at 316-268-6514 or rsylvester@wichitaeagle.com


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