By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE extent of the injuries suffered by a three-year-old girl during an alleged beating hours before she died were revealed to a jury yesterday.
Princess Margaret Hospital pathologist Dr Caryn Sands told the court that Jennifer Pinder, who was three-feet tall and weighed 35 lbs, died of “blunt-force injuries to the head, torso and extremities”.
Troy Sweeting, who sat in the prisoner’s dock during the doctor’s testimony, faces a murder charge. He is accused of beating the child to death on February 25, 2007.
Sweeting was originally charged along with his wife, Rosetta Cruz-Sweeting, but the charges against her were dropped prior to the trial.
The husband, who is on bail, denies the charge.
Before Dr Sands testified yesterday, lead prosecutor Anthony Delaney introduced two witnesses – a crime scene officer and the mother of the victim.
The officer, Cpl 2752 Hamilton, told the court his job was to collect and document items of evidential value at crime scenes.
He said he collected two items, a belt and a PVC pipe, from the bedroom of an apartment where the alleged beating took place.
After the items were entered into evidence, defending attorney Raymond Rolle asked the officer to explain the evidential value of the items.
Cpl Hamilton answered that the items were collected on the instructions of the investigators, who had reasons for wanting them.
Lisa Cruz, the terminally-ill mother of Jennifer, took the stand next and told the jury the last time she saw her daughter was the Christmas prior to the day in question.
Attorney Mr Rolle asked during cross-examination if she had ever received any complaints about her daughter’s treatment while the child was in her sister’s custody. Ms Cruz said no.
Taking the stand, Dr Sands told the court she could not speak to the order in which the injuries were inflicted, but detailed their extent from the head down.
According to her report, the victim had bruises and scrapes on her face and scalp, along with bleeding under the scalp.
More “contusions and patterned abrasions” were found on the girl’s torso and back, along with swelling and dead tissue under her abdomen.
Her liver was bruised , and the doctor said this and other factors caused by the injuries led to kidney failure.
Cuts, bruises and more severe soft tissue damage was found on the victim’s arms and legs, which the doctor said upset the fluid balance in her body and caused water to be transmitted from the bloodstream to body tissue, sending her body into shock and causing organ failure.
Mr Rolle asked the doctor if she could definitively say the alleged weapons caused the injuries found on Jennifer Pinder.
“I cannot say,” she answered.
The attorney also asked if the doctor noticed a different surname on the death certificate than the one on the report.
“That is true” she answered.
During re-examination, Mr Delaney asked the witness how well the toddler might have recovered, given the extent of the injuries.
“It would depend on whether she received medical attention immediately.
“I don’t think I could say how well she would’ve done, but the injuries were severe,” she answered.
The trial resumes today. Justice Roy Jones is presiding.