|Testimony continues in trial of man accused of injuring infant|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Dec. 15, 2005 - The trial of Amine Siraj, who is accused of injuring his 3-month-old son in September 2004, was expected to continue into the evening hours Thursday, according to prosecutors.
During the second day of trial Wednesday, Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Rusty Stillwagoner testified to the defendant's general demeanor during interviews conducted Sept. 29 and Oct. 4, 2004.
Stillwagoner, a 15-year police officer and currently the head of the police department's criminal investigations division, stated that Siraj was "detached" compared to other parents he has interviewed in similar cases.
"He said, 'I didn't shake it or do anything to that child.' That child. That seems somewhat detached to me," Stillwagoner stated, citing the continued use of the term "that child" instead of referring to Stephen Siraj as his son, or by his name.
Stillwagoner testified to reviewing taped phone conversations between Siraj and the child's mother, Leslie Glover, during which the defendant referred to Stephen as "that f---ing child" as further evidence of detachment by Siraj in relation to the victim. He also noted that during the taped phoned conversations between Stephen Siraj's parents the defendant's behavior is erratic, ranging from upset or disturbed to suddenly very calm. One of the taped phone conversations was played during Stillwagoner's testimony.
Also, Stillwagoner's first interview with Siraj was videotaped and played in court Wednesday. On the Sept. 29 tape, Siraj adamantly denies causing any injuries, intentional or accidental, to the child.
Siraj, during an Oct. 4 interview, dictated to Stillwagoner a statement regarding Stephen. In the statement, Siraj states that he had "taken care of Stephen the best way I know how" but that the child might not have always been "100 percent safe."
In the statement, Siraj also noted two instances, one in which the child fell from a bent bouncy seat, the other in which he grabbed the child by the shirt to keep him from rolling off the couch. He also said he had wrapped Stephen's blanket tightly around the child, but said he did not shake, squeeze, or otherwise intentionally harm the infant.
Stillwagoner said that he considered that statement a partial confession by Siraj of injuries to the child resulting from his care.
Dr. Michael Hauser and Dr. Matthew Cox with Children's Medical Center testified earlier in the trial that test results showed 3-month-old Stephen Siraj to have bleeding of the brain and fractured ribs consistent with a baby which had sustained serious trauma, such as that incurred in a major vehicle accident or from the child being abused, such as being shaken and squeezed too hard.
Dr. Todd Conner, Stephen Siraj's primary pediatrician since the child's birth on June 15, 2004, testified he had thus far not observed any permanent developmental delays or injuries in the victim, but that in such instances significant injuries often do not become known until the child is older and fails to achieve significant age-appropriate developmental "milestones." He also indicated that based on the information he has viewed regarding the now 1 1/2-year-old Stephen's injuries, particularly the brain bleeds, that he could experience significant difficulties.
When asked by Assistant District Attorney Stephen Lilley whether he had "any doubt Stephen Siraj was the victim of abuse," Conner answered "no," adding that "brain bleeds and fractures are definite indicators of abuse."