Testimony Reveals Details of 3-year-old's Child Abuse

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

Family members filled the courtroom as the Hillsdale County prosecutor called his first witnesses against James Campbell. The very first was the state trooper who responded to the call the night Beautiful Skyla Villanueva was killed.

"I went up and checked on...... what was Beautiful," mumbled Michigan State Police Officer James A. Weldy as his lip quivered. "Seeing the round circular bite marks on her arms was about all I needed to see to know that there was other issues other then what I was being told of her falling down the stairs."

Paramedics tried to revive the child, then rushed her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Trooper Weldy claims Campbell became aggressive when Weldy tried take his girlfriend Ashley Ferguson in a separate car to the hospital.

"He came over and started yelling again," said Weldy. "He turned away, then turned back towards me and spit."

Cambell spit right in his face, according to Weldy's testimony. The second witness was the expert in forensic pathology who conducted the autopsy on 3-year-old Skyla.

"Skyla had many injuries to her head, abrasions, bruises...and in her hair was matted gum," described expert Diane Scala-Barnett, as she pointed to where the injuries took place. "This is not accidental injury, this is abusive head trauma," said Dr. Scala-Barnett, a physician, deputy coroner, and forensic pathologist who has conducted about 8,700 autopsies.

Dr. Scala-Barnett says the head injuries caused her death, though Skyla experienced more than 85 injuries all over her body including a fractured arm, human bite marks, and potentially deadly scalding from a hot liquid.

"It seemed to be a pour injury because it was coming down the chest, coming down the shoulder, and coming down the back. Then there was one pop on her left arm, like a splash," said Dr. Scala-Barnett. "The scalding injuries alone would have been horrendously painful."

The expert says the injuries were all intentional. But the defense is concerned about timline of abuse.

"The defense's view was that there was no strong testimony, nothing that I could hear, that that was caused by James Campbell," said defense attorney Barry Poulson.

Campbell's mother drove up from Ohio to court. She says she has never seen her son harm a child and blames Ferguson for the abuse. Both Campbell and Ferguson's family say they want justice for Skyla.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Penny Location: Jackson on Aug 25, 2011 at 02:23 AM
    Any Adult in ANY Home or in ANY area that a child may also be. SHOULD PROTECT them from ANY Harm they may even just suspect. Either way ANY Adult who was around this Child is GUILTY! "Relative,Parent and Possibly Neighbors!
  • by Jasper Location: Bonifay on Aug 2, 2011 at 07:23 PM
    He may be on drugs. He spit on the cop, Why did he do that if he is so nice ? I do imagine he is a jerk that has stayed hidden till now. Monsters can stay hidden for a long time, then they get where they think they can do what they want and get away with it, then you can see who they really are.
  • by shirri Location: Bryan on Jul 22, 2011 at 09:29 PM
    I'm sorry but his mother knew and probably taught him this lifestyle. She has a scar on her lip/chin where he bit her! Together they stole everything one of his victims owned while she was in the hospital (from David) and were selling the stuff on FB! The truth will come out on both David and Ashley's involvement. I said for years that David was going to end up killing someone. Wish I would have been wrong :(
  • by Tena Location: Defiance on Jul 22, 2011 at 06:55 PM
    I do not agree with child abuse. I do not agree with abuse period, but to harm an innocent child that can not defend themselves is heinous. My heart breaks for the family of Skyla and I hope that justice is served.
    • reply
      by anna on Jul 22, 2011 at 08:52 PM in reply to Tena
      the mother in this case is no better than the guy who did it.... who would let their child around someone like that? I feel she should be prosecuted for failing to protect her own child from this monster
  • by Adrienne Location: Chicago on Jul 21, 2011 at 07:49 PM
    His mother says she has never seen him abuse or hurt a child..Abusers are usually not open about being abusive around others nor do they usually abuse in front of others.
    • reply
      by Ew on Dec 18, 2011 at 07:36 PM in reply to Adrienne
      Seriouksy? Who gives a fly frock about the mom. The child is dead and you Adrienne is protecting the mom and him and sticking up for him. You are repugnant
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