Friday, February 26, 2016

Custodial dad on trial for 1st-degree child abuse, unalawful impironsment (Sturgis, Michigan)

Dad JERRY RAY WOOSTER is obviously custodial. Not a word on what happened to this girl's mother or how this sick sh** got custody. Given the girl's testimony, it is very likely that her mother got similar treatment.

Trial begins in child abuse case

For nearly four hours Wednesday, jurors listened to emotional testimony from a 15-year-old girl who was physically abused by her father.

By Corky Emrick
Posted Feb. 25, 2016 at 6:00 AM

For nearly four hours Wednesday, jurors listened to emotional testimony from a 15-year-old girl who was physically abused by her father.

Testimony began in the trial of Jerry Ray Wooster, formerly of 411 W. Congress St. in Sturgis.

Wooster is charged with first-degree child abuse, unlawful imprisonment, inducing a minor to commit a felony and three counts of first-degree child abuse in front of other children.

Jury selection concluded Tuesday and the trial began with opening statements.

On Wednesday, the victim, now 15, testified under questioning by St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough about three days of abuse she allegedly endured July 7-9, 2015.

“Those were the worst three days of my life,” she said.

She testified that her family had lived in Sturgis for about a month. She lived with her father, older sister, her father’s girlfriend, Rachelle Leigh Ostrander and Ostrander's two small girls.

She and her sister were required to do 12 daily exercises including planks, sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, wall sits and running stairs.

If those were not done correctly, they were punished and had to do them again. On July 7, she kept getting the exercises “wrong” and her father started to spank her. Every time she was spanked it was harder, she testified. She said that lasted for about and hour.

Later that night, she attempted to leave the apartment, but was stopped by her father. She said she held onto the stair railing while her father attempted to pull her back into the apartment.

She said she began to scream. Her father told her to stop screaming “or I will break your jaw.”

Her father hit both her arms in an attempt to break her grip on the railing, she said. She tearfully described how she had her face slammed into the railing, bloodying her nose. She gave up and went inside, she said.

The following day, when her father returned from work she was forced to do the exercises by herself. She said her father and Ostrander said she ‘messed them up” and had to start over.

She had to do 90 jumping-jacks, with her father in front of her and Ostrander behind her. If she stepped on their toes, she was struck.

She testified that she was hit in the arms, back, stomach and head, with both open hand and closed fist and that continued for between two and three hours. She tried to tell them she was sorry.

“I felt it was my fault even though I knew it wasn’t,” she said.

On two occasions Wednesday, her testimony was stopped by 45th Circuit Court Judge Paul Stutesman and the court was put in recess, because the girl was upset and began to hyperventilate and have a panic attack.

She later testified that the exercises and beatings escalated to the third day, July 9. As she performed exercises, her father injured his wrist hitting her.

Ostrander then went into the kitchen and returned with a plastic spoon for her father and she had a metal spatula with which to hit the girl. Both her father and Ostrander struck her in the face, arms and knees, she testified.

While doing planks, which are similar to push-ups, a lit lighter was placed under her, so if she fell, she would be burned.

“I fell and it burned me,” she said.

She started to drop a second time and turned sideways to avoid the flame. Her father then grabbed her hair and slammed her head into the floor, she said. “The more I screamed the more he slammed my head into the floor,” she said.

She testified that she was also kicked in the stomach, knees and ribs.

She endured this for almost five hours, she said.

Afterward, her father and Ostrander went to the store. Fearing she would leave, her father handcuffed her to a radiator in the apartment. Her older sister was instructed to watch her, and her father took the handcuff keys with him. They were gone about two hours.

On July 10, while Ostrander was taking her father to work and her older sister was taking Ostrander’s girls to school for lunch, she fled the apartment. She ran to a local business where employees called 911 for her.