GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - Opening statements started in the trial of a Glens Falls man accused in the death of his 15-month-old son on Wednesday.
Gary Waite is charged with second-degree murder, accused of tossing his son across the room when he began crying. The boy later died from severe head injuries in February 2012.
According to police Waite admitted he threw Jesse Smith across the couch causing him to strike his head on the floor, after becoming frustrated with his crying.
A jury of eight men and four women heard from the first witnesses who took the stand on Wednesday. Those witnesses included a 911 dispatcher, a neighbor, and one of the first paramedics on the scene.
A neighbor of Waite took the stand saying he heard 7 or 8 bangs on that February 2012 day, each followed by a child's scream.
Nikki Guy, a paramedic, testified that while she was rendering aid to an unconscious Jesse, Waite was heard saying the boy fell against a metal chair, took a nap, and was later found barely breathing. Guy testified that scenario is doubtful, considering the boy had one dilated pupil and blue lips, which is a sign of brain injury, and blood caked in his nose and mouth, a sign of internal injury. Injuries, Guy says, are not likely to happen from a 1-year old falling from a standing position.
In a statement on the decision to uphold the murder charge, Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said, "The defendant had exclusive control over the child who was healthy when placed in his care. The child's injuries were substantial and according to the medical experts not consistent with accidental cause. In fact the expert said that this head injury was consistent with a car crash at 60 mph with no seat belt or being dropped from a 10 story building."
However, Waite's attorney argues Jesse's mother dropped the boy off at Waite's house already injured.
Waite could face 25 years to life if convicted on the 2nd degree murder and manslaughter charges he faces.
The trial picks back up Thursday, and is expected to last about two weeks.
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