By Antoinette Vega
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON A jury of eight women and four men late Friday found a Killeen man guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the death of his 7-year-old stepson.
The jury also convicted Sgt. Zabian L. Turner of reckless injury to a child in the death of the stepson, Kabir Artmore.
Judge Martha Trudo of the 264th District Court sentenced Turner to one year in state jail on the homicide charge and 10 years in prison for the reckless injury charge.
Turner must serve at least five years of the 10-year sentence before being eligible for parole. Both sentences will run concurrently.
Jurors started deliberations around 1:45 p.m. and did not return with a verdict until after 11 p.m. Friday.
After deliberating for more than eight hours, the jurors listened to a transcript of testimony from Dr. Linda Norton, a prosecution rebuttal expert witness who testified on Thursday.
Jurors had questions concerning her testimony about the death of the 7-year-old boy.
Turner, 33, had pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to murder and injury to a child in relation to the death of 7-year-old Kabir Artmore. Both charges are first-degree felonies.
Artmores death was caused by blunt-force injury to the head that cause severe brain damage, according to court statements.
Turner had been home alone on Sept. 6 with Artmore in the 2200 block of Sandstone Drive, where the incident allegedly occurred, according to the affidavit.
The defense contended that the 7-year-old fell off a bar stool and hit the top left side of his head on the cement floor creating a skull fracture that led to brain damage. The prosecution maintained that Turner beat his stepson to death.
Besides the skull fracture, Artmore suffered bruises to his head, chest, buttocks, back and feet. The 7-year-old suffered massive brain contusions, hematomas to the back of the head and retinal hemorrhaging.
Doctors found 38 bruises, including the one causing the skull fracture, on Artmores 50-pound body.
Judge Trudo read the jury parts of Nortons testimony mentioning any blow to the head that led to Artmores death.
According to the court transcripts, Norton, a forensic pathologist from Dallas, testified that the main skull fracture or the two hematomas from blows to the back of Artmores head could have caused his death.
The brain injury from that skull fracture is definitely what caused the death of that child, Norton said. The two hematomas from the blows to the back of the head could have caused the death.
Norton said the back of the head is a usual impact point of a child who is abused.
In most cases of fatal child abuse that is usually the impact point, Norton said. Skull fractures do not cause death. Brain damage causes death.
In closing arguments, Turners attorney, Jeff Kearney, asked the jury not to reach a decision based on emotion.
Dont get them to make you give an emotional decision, Kearney said. There are so many reasons to doubt them because experts cant even agree.
Kearney told the jury that Turner was a loving father.
Zabian was a loving father to Kabir, Kearney said. Dont you think if someone would have disagreed they would have put them on the stand? But they didnt because they couldnt find anyone.
Prosecutor Mark Kimball told the jury that Artmore was beaten to death and Turner was the only one who could have done it.
I dont know what made Mr. Hyde come out Sept. 6 and beat this boy to death, Kimball said. His little body cried out for justice, and I hope you deliver it.
Contact Antoinette Vega at firstname.lastname@example.org