Lawyers relying on surveillance video in case against Spokane man accused of child abuse
SPOKANE, Wash. — Lawyers presented their opening arguments and called their first witnesses today in the case against a man accused of abusing a 2-year-old girl.
Cedric Burton was arrested in 2016, accused of abusing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter. The case made headlines when Burton was released on a $25,000 bond instead of $250,000, due to a typo.
Now the case is finally going to trial. Early Monday morning, a judge decided to change Burton’s charge from first degree to second degree child abuse. He is receiving a bench trial, so a judge, not a jury, will decide his fate.
In opening arguments, lawyers heavily referenced a security video as their evidence to support their case.
The video hasn’t been presented yet, but prosecutors say in it, you can see Burton and the little girl leave a motel they were staying at. The video shows the girl walking fine. But when they return, prosecutors argue you can see Burton intentionally hurt the child.
“What you’ll see is the defendent appears to be unlatching the seatbelt and then all of a sudden, you’ll see this child tumbling out of the van. You’ll see the defendent backing away from the door, and this child hits the asphalt,” said Prosecutor Eugene Cruz
But, the defense argued that the video will show the opposite. They say it will be obvious that this was an unfortunate accident.
“When you look at it frame by frame, you can see the child turn in the seat to reach for him, as if she expected him to lift her out of the seat. But you also see Mr. Burton, when he opens the door, start to take a step back, so he hadn’t planned on picking her up out of the seat,” said Burton’s defense attorney.
family members who visited the child said the girl had casts on her arms and legs and was clearly in distress.
“She was bruised. She had bandages around her hand. On her arms and legs. She was swollen,” said the girl’s grandmother.
Burton is facing life in prison if found guilty. He has a lengthy criminal history. It will be up to the judge to decide if Burton intentionally caused the girl’s injuries.
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