CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The murder trial of Andre Hampton turned into an emotional roller coaster Thursday afternoon.
The 27-year-old man is accused of beating his 1-year-old son to death back in November 2008 at the AARCS Residence Suits Motel on South Tryon Street.
The trial was expected to be tough on the jury because members would have to view numerous photographs of the toddler, Elijah Burger’s, injuries.
One juror asked to be removed from the panel because of the pictures she saw Wednesday. She said she had made up her mind and could no longer be objective. So she was replaced.
Thursday afternoon, Dr. Thomas Owens, the medical examiner, was called to the stand. He took the majority of the pictures and used them to illustrate the numerous injuries to the child.
In one of the pictures you could see that Elijah’s gums were bruised; in others, almost every square inch of his 23-month-old body was black and blue.
For most of the trial Hampton has sat poker faced in the courtroom, but the pictures unleashed a flood of emotions from him.
During an afternoon break he could be heard sobbing in his holding cell in the courtroom, and when court resumed he continued wailing; forcing the judge to delay the proceedings.
Hampton may have also been affected by Elijah’s older sister who testified earlier in the day. She is now 10-years-old and was 6 at the time.
She told jurors what triggered the violent episode back in 2008.
“He didn’t listen, he didn’t eat his soup,” said the 10-year-old. She was calm and collected on the stand not betraying a hint of the terror she witnessed.
Her taped interview was also played before jurors. An investigator asked her, “How hard did he spank him?” She replied “Hard.”
She also said, “He had bruises on him, on his stomach, on his neck, on his legs.”
The state rested Thursday afternoon; the defense will start its case on Monday.