Jury hears opening arguments in child murder trial
SPOKANE, Wash. — A jury heard opening arguments Wednesday in the case against a Spokane man accused of killing a child he was babysitting.
Joshua J. Mobley is charged with second degree murder for allegedly causing the death of Caiden Henry, who was almost ten-months-old when he died in February 2017.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner Sally Aiken ruled Caiden’s death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. She and first responders who tried to revive Caiden noted bruising to the baby’s face and body. The autopsy also noted several internal injuries that, prosecutors argue, are indicative of child abuse.
The Medical Examiner will testify that Caiden had a dry diaper at the time of his death and had little food in his system. He also had apparent signs of pneumonia. Prosecutors argue both indicate that Caiden had been unconscious for ‘most of the day.’
Court documents say Mobley’s wife and Caiden’s mother used to work together and the Mobleys would often babysit Caiden.
Documents say on February 20, Caiden’s mother noticed her son had bruises on his face and a broken blood vessel in his left eye. She took pictures and sent them to Mobley’s wife to ask what happened; she said she wasn’t sure and would ask Mobley about it.
Mobley said he hadn’t noticed anything but that the boy must hurt himself banging his head on a wooden crib.
On February 26, Mobley was watching Caiden and his own children. Caiden’s mom left work to go to the emergency room for a headache stemming from on ongoing medical issue. Caiden stayed in Mobley’s custody while his mother was treated.
While she was at the hospital, documents say Mobley sent Caiden’s mother a photo of her son, sleeping on a couch with the message ‘played until he couldn’t.”
Spokane County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Shane Smith said in court on Wednesday that Caiden’s mother found it unusual, as she had never received a photo from Mobley before. Mobley’s defense attorney Carl Oreskovich said the photo, which will be shown to the jury, does not show bruises on the boy’s face.
That evening, Mobley and his wife took all the children to visit Mobleys’ parents and other family members.
Prosecutors say Mobley placed Caiden upstairs shortly after arriving at the home, and was the only one to check on the boy throughout the evening until the family left to pick up Caiden’s mother from the emergency room, at which time Mobley’s mother asked to see Caiden’s face.
Both attorneys said in court Wednesday that members of the family who were present will testify that there were no visible bruises on Caiden’s face. Oreskovich told the jury that everyone who came into contact with the boy will say he appeared ‘normal.’
The Mobley family then picked Caiden’s mother up from the hospital and dropped the two off at home. Mobley carried Caiden in from the car and placed him on a couch.
Caiden’s mother would later tell police Mobley “told [her] to leave Caiden alone and let him sleep and it was if Joshua Mobley did not want [her] to touch Caiden whatsoever.”
Prosecutors say Caiden’s mother was drowsy from medication she had been given at the ER and went to sleep on a couch across from her son almost immediately upon arriving home, without turning on the lights or kissing her son good night, as prosecutors say was her routine.
She woke up just before 3:00 am and found her son cold and not breathing. She called 911, and attempted life-saving measures herself, but the baby was eventually declared dead. First responders noted obvious bruising to his face and body.
The state argues that Mobley caused the injuries while the boy had been in his care the day before. The defense said testimony from witnesses shows that the boy did not have those obvious injuries when he was returned home.
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