RIPLEY, W.Va. (AP/WSAZ) - UPDATE: 3/15/19 7:53 A.M.
The lead investigator in the trial of a man accused of killing his girlfriend's 10-month-old baby testified that he has no doubt the man raped and murdered the girl.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Jackson County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger said Thursday that Benjamin Taylor had blood on his torso and a wet spot on his pants when officers were called to the home in 2016.
The woman testified that she found him shirtless with his pants unbuttoned and leaning over her naked, injured daughter. The infant died days later.
Mellinger testified that Taylor had been looking for pornography online, told officers he has "episodes" when he blacks out, and hadn't noticed the blood on the baby.
The trial of a man from Jackson County accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a 10-month-old baby girl is underway.
Back in October 2016, investigators say Emmaleigh Barringer's mom found her unresponsive and covered in blood when she was in Benjamin Taylor's care. Emmaleigh died a few days later.
The jury consists of seven women and nine men.
During opening statements Wednesday, the prosecutor started by telling the jury about the baby. She told the jury they were going to hear a lot about how she died, and not about the life she was supposed to live.
She also told them it's important to remember the baby was a human being.
Then, Taylor's lawyer spoke and kept reiterating to the jury what happened to Emmaleigh is terrible, but Taylor has been falsely accused.
After opening statements, the prosecutor called Emmaleigh's mom, Amanda, as the first witness. She had a hard time speaking about what happened to her daughter that day. The 911 tapes from that day were also played for the jury to hear.
In previous court appearances, there has been heavy security because of the nature of the case. Taylor has worn a bulletproof vest and helmet in addition to shackles. On Wednesday, Taylor was in dress clothes without any protective gear.
In April 2017, Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill into law that increases the penalty for a person convicted of child abuse causing death. It's called Emmaleigh's Law.
The law increases the penalty for a person convicted for child abuse causing death from 10-40 years in jail to up to 15 years to life.
Jury selection begins Tuesday in the case against a man accused of sexually assaulting and killing an infant.
Benjamin Taylor, of Cottageville, is charged with murder, sexual assault, and child abuse in connection with the death of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.
Cameras will not be allowed inside the courtroom Tuesday. Opening arguments could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators say in October of 2016, Emmaleigh's mom found the baby in the basement of her apartment unresponsive and covered in blood. Investigators say Taylor was the mom's boyfriend.
Deputies say he changed his story several times before telling officers he took the baby to the basement, but "blacked out" and didn't remember how the injuries happened. Emmaleigh later died in the hospital from her injuries.
In previous court appearances, there has been heavy security because of the nature of the case. Taylor has worn a bulletproof vest and helmet in addition to shackles.
ORIGINAL STORY 10/6/16
A man accused of sexually assaulting a 9-month-old baby is now charged with murder in the child's death.
Media outlets report 32-year-old Benjamin Taylor of Cottageville was charged with first-degree murder after the girl died of her injuries at a hospital Wednesday. Taylor is the boyfriend of the victim's mother, but isn't the child's father.
He was initially charged Monday with first-degree sexual assault.
A criminal complaint shows the baby had extensive bleeding. The complaint says the injuries indicated a violent sexual assault, as well as shaking or striking of the face.
Taylor told deputies he took the baby to the basement of an apartment while doing laundry. He said he "blacked out" and didn't know how the baby's injuries occurred.
It's unclear whether Taylor has an attorney.
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