JURORS GET CASE OF MAN CHARGED IN DAUGHTER’S DEATH

Charlotte Observer, The (NC)
July 26, 1996Section: METRO Edition: ONE & TWOP a g e : 1 C

The fate of Marcus Stuart, accused of killing his infant daughter, is now in the hands of ajury.
Closing arguments in the murder case against Stuart ended Thursday. Jurors will begindeliberation today. Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty If the 31-year-oldmachinist and Army veteran is convicted. He is charged with beating 10-week-old MeganStuart to death one year ago.After defense attorney Ted Cummings asked that a charge of second-degree murder notbe considered, the jurors were left with three choices. They can convict Stuart of first-degree murder with premeditation, meaning that he planned to murder his baby. They can decide that he is guilty of first-degree murder by torture.
Or they can find him not guilty.
“What happened to baby girl Megan? Her little body was broken,” Assistant DistrictAttorney Gary Dellinger told the jury in closing arguments. “She was twisted. She was broken. She was flailed. She was damaged. That’s what happened to baby girl Megan.”
Marcus Stuart called 911 twice last July, reporting both times that his daughter “gotglassy-eyed and stopped breathing.” The first time, on July 6, paramedics revived the child and Stuart declined their offer to take her to the hospital. The second time, on July8, the infant was rushed to Catawba Memorial Hospital and transferred to N.C. BaptistHospital in Winston-Salem, where she died.
Doctors there discovered cracked ribs, broken legs and massive head injuries they said were probably caused by one heavy blow to the back of the skull. Marcus Stuart wascharged with his daughter’s death less than a month later.
In court Thursday, Dellinger read jurors both 911 transcripts.
“Why would you not want to send that child to the hospital?” he asked, his voice rising. “Why? Because if you take a baby to the hospital, they’re going to do X-rays. They’re going to run tests.”
Dellinger and Assistant District Attorney Jason Parker, who jointly argued the state’s case, contend that Stuart lost his temper with the crying child and shook her to death.
Prosecutors said the baby died after weeks of abuse, which they characterized as torture.
Stuart’s attorney, Bob Adams, said in closing arguments that the state had not provedbeyond a reasonable doubt that Stuart caused the injuries. He said the broken ribs,which were already healing at the time of Megan’s death, could have occurred during birth.
” Just because Marcus Stuart called 911 doesn’t mean he caused these injuries,” Adams said. “It means that he was caring for the child and calling for help. He wanted to helpher.”
On Wednesday, Sturart took the stand and tearfully denied ever raising a hand to hurt hislittle girl. Many in the courtroom were openly weeping.
One person who wasn’t crying was the state’s first witness, Stuart’s wife, Amy. She testified that she never saw Marcus Stuart hit Megan, but said he was the only other person who’d been alone withwith the child. Throughout the trial, Amy Stuart sat in the frontrow behind prosecuters, her arms folded.
She was at work when the child was injured.

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~ by mamadubs on January 13, 2006.

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