Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dad on trial for giving 20-month-old daughter "one-two" punch for failing to eat--and killing her (Newark, New Jersey)

Yet another one of the poor "frustrated" babysittig daddies who killed the baby....

This one is identified as TRAVIS HARTSFIELD JR.

Father on trial for murder told detectives he hit baby 'one-two' when she wouldn't eat

By Julia Terruso/The Star-Ledger on April 10, 2013 at 3:55 PM

NEWARK — Travis Hartsfield Jr. sat his daughter on the futon in his apartment and tried to get her to eat. The 20-month old was underweight for her age and kept pushing his spoon-wielding hand away from her face, sometimes opening her small mouth but refusing to chew.

Frustrated, Hartsfield punched the toddler in the stomach. She still wouldn't eat, so he punched her again.

"One-two," he told detectives, punching the air with his right then his left fist in a videotaped interview played for the jury in Hartsfield's murder trial today in Superior Court in Newark.

"She didn't want to eat. She hasn't been eating...I kinda got upset," Hartsfield says in the video slouched over an interview table, his voice calm and quiet.

Hartsfield is facing murder charges in the death of Asiyah Hartsfield, March 14, 2011. His attorney is arguing for the lesser aggravated manslaughter conviction because she says while Hartsfield admits he hit the child, his intent was never to kill her.

In the 30-minute interview video played for jurors today, Hartsfield describes picking the little girl up at Irvington Center where her mother worked. He says he stopped at a video game store and then took the bus home with the baby. Hartsfield said the child was groggy and slept most of the day. The first time he takes detectives through the sequence of events he doesn't tell them about punching her.

"Something's missing," Detective Paul Sarabando, who'd seen the autopsy photos of the girl's bruised torso, says on the tape. "Is there something else you want to tell us?"

"I kinda may have been a little upset," Hartsfield says in the tape. "I kinda lost it." Hartsfield tells detectives as soon as he hit the girl, she threw up macaroni and mashed bananas and then crawled away in tears to lie down but appeared fine, waking up at one point when his mother came home and waving at her. But a few hours later when he went to change her diaper he found her cold and not breathing. A medical examiner would determine the girl died of blunt force trauma. Her liver was ruptured by the blows.

Hartsfield tells detectives he has some anger issues but that he had never struck his daughter before.

"It wasn't four times, eight times, I didn't put her in a headlock, it was two times. I said 'Go lay down' and she crawled away.'"

The trial continues Thursday with testimony from the medical examiner.