Toddler's alleged death reenacted for trial

Sherita McNeil

August 13, 2010 8:51:02 PM PDT
The trial of a Garner mother accused of killing her 19-month-old son and stuffing his body in a plastic tub hidden in her closet continued on Friday with video showing the mother explaining her son's death to police.For more than an hour, jurors watched a tape of Sherita McNeil re-creating what she says was the accident that killed her son.

"He was trying to cry and I just kept yelling like, 'Poodie, Poodie, are you okay,'" said McNeil on the tape.

In the tape, McNeil was trying to tell police that the death of her son Devarion Gross was an accident.

"He was just jumping and then he came like this, and he came down and it just, boom, boom like that," she said.

McNeil was seen describing what the defense claims is the 19-month-old's head hitting the coffee table - what they say caused his death.

But as the tape continues, its clear detectives did not believe her story.

"How do you explain the fact that a baby ends up dead ... that you didn't want. How do you explain that," Garner Police Department Detective Scott Selvek asked on the tape.

"I knew the story she was telling was not the truth, and I wanted her to come up with something better than what she was coming up with," said Selvek as he explained the tape in court on Friday.

But the most jarring image of the day was on the tape when a detective gave the accused killer a hug as he offered a chilling warning.

"Secrets like this will eat you up, and they will not go away until you talk about them," the detective said.

Jurors also heard phone calls between McNeil and her family, which prosecutors say confirm police suspicions that McNeil wanted her daughter, but not her son.

"I really don't, I really don't want any more kids," McNeil said in a phone conversation. "All I want is her, that's it."

As the audio tapes were played in court, McNeil sat silent showing a hint of emotion for the first time during the trial.

The prosecution will continue presenting its case on Monday.

If convicted of first degree murder, McNeil could spend the rest of her life in prison.

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