LIMA — Jurors listened to an audio recording Wednesday as Anthony Davenport admitted to investigators he “probably crossed a line” in administering a hard spanking to his 30-month-old nephew on the day before the child was taken to a Lima hospital with bleeding on the brain.
Davenport, however, denied any knowledge of how Kyler Skeens wound up with bruises over a majority of his body or why the infant was limp and virtually lifeless when he was taken to Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center on the morning of March 21, 2017.
A second day of testimony in the trial of Davenport, 34, charged with second-degree felony counts of felonious assault and endangering children, continued Wednesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Jurors started their morning by listening to an audio version of an interview conducted by Nate Music, a former detective with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, with Davenport within hours of his arrival at the Lima hospital with the boy. Members of the jury on Tuesday viewed photos of the boy taken at the hospital which showed bruises over much of the youngster’s body, from his jaw to his neck to his arms, legs, back and buttocks.
Medical personnel testified that Kyler Skeens was limp and unresponsive upon his arrival at St. Rita’s, and following a CAT scan it was later determined the youngster suffered a traumatic brain injury, according to Tuesday’s testimony. Medical experts from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, where Skeens was transported, confirmed the child suffered a traumatic brain injury.
During the interview with Music and Lt. Brett Rider, Davenport told the investigators he had administered an “excessive spanking” to the boy on the day before he was brought to the hospital, but the Lima man said he had “no explanation” for what was later determined to be bleeding on the brain suffered by Skeens.
Davenport said that on the morning of March 21, 2017, the youngster “was fine; he was looking at me … and then he just slumped over. I don’t know why. He was fine until a couple of hours ago.”
The defendant said the toddler “was pooping on me as I held him and was throwing up” even after his body had gone limp. “He was just kinda flopping around,” Davenport told investigators.
At one point on the tape, Davenport said that “puppy pads” were used in the home in an attempt to potty train the infant, and that the boy had smeared feces around the house. Kyler’s failure to use the pad had resulted in a spanking.
Rider asked Davenport to help investigators piece together what had led to the boy’s brain injuries.
“I think this child has touched your last nerve, and you went overboard,” the lieutenant said. “I know you crossed the line yesterday” by spanking the youngster severely. “The bruising on his ass is beyond control, and we know that came from you.”
Davenport repeated that he had no explanation for head injuries sustained by the infant.
Davenport and his wife, Rachel, were granted temporary custody of Kyler Skeens and his older brother after the boys were removed from the home of their biological mother in Logan County, according to testimony earlier in the trial. Rachel Davenport had left for work on the morning of March 21, 2017, several hours before the infant was taken to the hospital, according to earlier testimony.
Testimony in the trial should resume Thursday morning.