Accused Baby Killer Begins Trial

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

MASON (WILX)--Opening Statements were given Monday in the John Sanders' case. Sanders is facing first degree murder and abuse charges in the death of his daughter Janayjah Sanders. Janayjah died of brain trauma on January 4th.

Prosecution says they're still unsure what happened while Janayjah was with Sanders the morning of January 4th, but they believe he snapped.

"John Sanders had a crying baby, he did not know how to deal with the crying baby, and out of anger or frustration he abused the baby," said Mike Chelstenham, Assistant Prosecutor.

Ingham County Medical Examiner Joyce DeJong says after examining the the Janayjah, she can determine the baby was abused one of three ways; the baby was either shaken violently, was hit with something, or was bashed against something.

When Janayjah was brought to the hospital by Sanders, it was because she had stopped breathing. She was still alive, and showed no signs of trauma externally, but doctors later revealed sever head/brain trauma that's consistant with homicide.

"It was clearly trauma not disease. She had several spots where she was bleeding on top of the brain," said Dr. DeJong.

Dr. Dejong added that during the autopsy she found the injury to be similar to what she would find in a car accident. She said the brain trauma had to have been forced, because even if she'd fell it wouldn't have made an impact so severe.

Defense doesn't deny Sanders was the only one with the three-month-old baby the morning of her death, but believes there's no proof pinning Sanders beyond a doubt as the one who inflicted the injuries.

"Are they going to be able to tell you (the jury) with one hundred percent certainty that these inflicted injuries that can't have another source without a different source. I don't anticipate that. That's not going to reach the beyond a reasonable doubt standard," said Joe Ernst, Sanders' attorney.

It's still unknown if Sanders will take the stand in his own trial. The baby's mother, and Sanders' mother, are expected to testify later this week.

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