Regina baby who died in 2017 had bruising on head, expert testifies
Emotions ran high on the first day of trial for a man who allegedly caused the death of his infant son.
Catlin Goodwill is charged with one count of manslaughter in the death of his three-month-old son.
He has pleaded not guilty.
Jodeci Spencer took the stand to describe the moments leading up to her son’s death.
Both Spencer and the accused broke down in tears at certain points of testimony, which lead to two separate breaks during the court proceedings on Monday.
“It was supposed to be a normal day. I didn’t think anything was going to happen. I didn’t think I was going to lose a son,” Spencer said during testimony.
The infant was found unresponsive inside the couple’s home on Regency Crescent on Oct. 14, 2017. He was later pronounced dead in hospital.
The infant was found unresponsive inside a home on Regency Crescent in October 2017. (Gareth Dillistone / CTV News)
Spencer described her relationship with Goodwill as “on-and-off.” The couple was living together with their two children at the time of their youngest son’s death.
Spencer left Goodwill home alone with the two kids for the first time the day before. The next day, Goodwill stayed home with the baby, while the other son went to Spencer’s mom’s house.
When Spencer returned home with her oldest son, everything seemed ordinary, she said. Goodwill told her he just put the baby down for a nap. Although, Spencer testified that she did not see the infant because he was sitting in his baby swing facing the wall.
“I barely saw my son. I barely touched my son (that night),” Spencer told court during cross-examination.
She said she had a bath, while Goodwill continued to take care of the kids. She heard the baby cry a couple of times throughout the evening, but Goodwill tended to him.
Spencer was in the kitchen feeding her other son when she told Goodwill to check on the baby.
“He called me to the living room and told me (our son) wasn’t breathing,” Spencer testified.
“I didn’t believe him. I thought he was joking. Then when I went and touched my son, he was cold.”
They called EMS, Spencer said.
Photographs taken for forensic identification at the time of the boy’s death show several red marks and bruises on his body including bruising on the back of his head and thigh, according to one of the Crown witnesses.
Both Spencer and Goodwill were arrested and questioned about the trauma that the baby had experienced, according to her testimony. Spencer was released without charge.
Another Crown witness, advanced care paramedic and EMS supervisor Janet McMechan, was one of the first responders who treated the boy on scene.
She testified to finding him in “critical condition” on the floor in the living room. He was not breathing and his skin was bluish-grey, McMechan said. EMS also noted a bruise on the boy’s thigh, but no other trauma was visible.
McMechan said the baby was cold to touch, which would indicate he did not have proper blood flow “for awhile.” However, defence lawyer Bruce Campbell pointed out that McMechan’s original statement after the call said the boy was “warm to touch.”
McMechan corrected her testimony and agreed the infant must have been warm to touch, but said he had “cool extremities.”
EMS was told that the baby was put down for a nap at 6:30 p.m. the night of his death, McMechan testified. About three hours later, EMS was dispatched to the house for a “not breathing infant” shortly after 9 p.m.
EMS began life-saving measures inside the home before carrying the infant into the ambulance and transporting him to Regina General Hospital, where he was eventually pronounced dead.
According to McMechan’s testimony, the family told EMS that the baby had diarrhea the day before, but was “normally healthy.”
Goodwill was arrested and charged with manslaughter in August 2019 following a brief Canada-wide warrant.
Goodwill has pleaded not guilty. He re-elected to be tried by judge alone, after originally choosing a jury trial.
The Crown is expected to call a number of expert witnesses in the case, including police officers and doctors.
The trial is scheduled until Friday.
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