Hairbrush, belt among evidence entered in trial for beaten toddler

Hairbrush, belt among evidence entered in trial for beaten toddler

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by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 12:38 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Elijah Burger was a cute one-year-old who was full of promise, but he died a horrible death.

On Tuesday morning, his father, 27-year-old Andre Hampton went on trial for his murder.

Lead Homicide Detective Bill Ward put on a demonstration for the jury showing how Hampton whipped his son for hours with a belt.

Firefighter Cindy Zimmerman was one of the first responders to the scene; she talked about Elijah’s injuries.

“He had bruises from head to toe, I remember his fingers were bloody,” Zimmerman recalled.

The 22-year-veteran also told jurors that Elijah’s 6-year-old sister called 911, “She looked absolutely terrified. We were on the floor staring right at her."

Elijah was killed at the AARCS Residence Suites on South Tryon Street in November of 2008.

Ward interviewed Hampton shortly after the incident. His confession was played before the jury. Ward asked him about the broken fingernails.

Ward: “what was that caused by?

Hampton: He raised his hand; I turned him this way and hit his knuckles.”

Prosecutors say that Elijah was beaten starting the night of November 10 and the abuse continued on through November 11.

They introduced several items into evidence which they claim were used to strike Elijah: A toothbrush which was used to rap his knuckles, a hairbrush that was used on his bottom, and a belt which may have been used on the 23-month-old for as long as four hours.

In opening statements, defense attorneys admitted their client beat his son, but they claim that he was a victim of child abuse himself.

"Whatever you think of a whipping is not what they think. This whipping, what they think is 10 to 12 times with a belt. They can't remember how many times that happened," said defense attorney, Joe VonKallist. 

The main goal of the defense is to save Hampton’s life. If convicted he could get the death penalty.

 

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