An emergency room physician with the East Texas Medical Center, who testified in the defense of a couple accused of deliberately scalding their granddaughter’s feet, said he thought the child’s burns were accidental.
Defense attorney Scott Ellis showed the jury several photos of the 2-year-old girl’s feet in which the burns appeared to be more severe and slightly higher up above her ankle on her left foot than on her right foot.
“The photos of the injuries are consistent with a child walking around the tub,” Lawrence testified. The doctor said he reviewed the evidence in the Walker case, which included 500 to 600 pages and 100 to 150 pictures in a 30-hour period.
Lawrence explained how the burns could have happened accidentally. He said if the child had been playing in the bathtub and her 3-year-old brother had been standing outside the tub unsupervised for an extended period of time, it was possible one of them had turned on the hot water, which at first, would run cool.
The girl could have been standing at the back of the tub, which is shallower, Lawrence said.
“By the time she realizes the water is hot, she must walk to the front of the tub, where the water is much hotter. At that point, she is doing anything she can to get out of that tub,” Lawrence told the jury.
The doctor testified that the girl’s brother, who did not mean to hurt her, may have prevented her from leaving the tub. Lawrence said the girl, who had fresh scratches on her upper arm and thigh, could have received those from crawling over the sliding door track on the tub. Photos of the tub taken after police arrived showed the sliding door slightly bent and off its track.
Defense attorney Cameron Castleberry said in his opening statements to the jury Friday that the reason the Walkers gave differing accounts of what happened was because they did not want their 3-year-old grandson involved.
“After the Child Protective Services came in, they decided to tell the truth,” Castleberry told the jury, referring to the first account of the accident the Walkers gave. In that account, Mrs. Walker said she was folding clothes in another room in the house when she heard her granddaughter screaming in the master bathroom.
He said the Walkers initially contacted their daughter-in-law, Amanda Walker, who works for a nursing home “so they could try to fix it,” Castleberry said.
Lawrence also testified Kenneth Walker had dual chamber pacemakers in his heart, and he had chronic lower back problems, so he would not have been able to hold a squirming 27-pound child in hot water.
Prosecutor Jason Parrish had Lawrence read notes to the jury written by Walker’s cardiologist in August 2011 that the defendant was “capable of exercising and feeling well.”
Lawrence also read notes from doctors which referred to Walker as an “intense man,” who was under stress from having his three young grandchildren live with him.
Testimony continues on Monday.