Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Primary caretaker" dad finally on trial for 2011 murder of 20-month-old daughter (Newark, New Jersey)

According to earlier posts on this case, Mom worked two jobs while the deadbeat daddy played at being the primary caretaker.

Dad is identified as TRAVIS HARTSFIELD JR.

Baby girl died from 'strong blows,' internal bleeding, doctor says at father's murder trial

By Bill Wichert | NJ Advance Media for on October 15, 2014 at 1:25 PM

NEWARK — A 20-month-old girl was killed in March 2011 as a result of strong blows to her body that caused her to bleed internally, a medical examiner testified today at the murder trial of the child’s father.

“The belly was full of blood,” said Dr. Eddy Lilavois, adding that the girl’s injuries were caused by “a very strong blow or a series of strong blows.”

Lilavois recounted those details from the witness stand in a Newark courtroom during the trial of Travis Hartsfield Jr., who is facing murder and child endangerment charges in the death of his daughter, Asiyah Hartsfield.

His first trial ended in a mistrial last year when a jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Hartsfield, 28, of Newark, is accused of killing the girl by punching her in the stomach when she wouldn’t eat.

Hartsfield told detectives that he punched the girl twice in the stomach, but his attorney has argued he did not intend to cause her serious injury and should not be convicted of murder.

After Hartsfield found that his daughter was “ice cold” and not breathing, EMS workers later brought the girl to University Hospital around 1 a.m. on March 15, 2011, according to trial testimony.

The child – who had no pulse, no heart activity and was not breathing on her own – was pronounced dead around 2 a.m., a hospital doctor testified last week.

On the witness stand today, Lilavois described the roughly four-hour autopsy he performed on Asiyah Hartsfield. When the girl’s body was presented for the examination, she was wearing a hospital gown and weighing 22.8 pounds, Lilavois said.

During an external review, Lilavois said he observed bruises on the girl’s head, torso and arms. “Those were fresh injuries,” said Lilavois, saying the injuries had occurred within the last day.

When Lilavois made an incision in her abdomen wall, he testified that “blood came gushing out of the abdomen.”

Lilavois said he determined the internal bleeding came from the injuries to the girl’s liver.

The liver had split away from a ligament and there was a “deep gash into the liver itself,” Lilavois said. “The tissues of the liver were basically crushed and mulched,” Lilavois said.

As a result of internal bleeding, a person can became sluggish, lethargic and lose consciousness as the organs gradually shut down and the body temperature decreases, Lilavois said.

Asked about how Asiyah Hartsfield’s body temperature was 85 degrees at the hospital, Lilavois said that confirms “the conditions were not conducive to sustain life.”