Defense attorney Aricia Underwood said her client, who often cared for his daughter alone, was “careful, he was loving, He did not shake his daughter to death.”
Powers’ trial began Tuesday in Judge Jennifer McElfresh’s courtroom. He is charged with felony child endangering and murder.
Powers, 24, and the child’s mother, Kylee Johnson, were co-parenting their daughter at a residence on Merlin Way, according to prosecutors. Powers had come to Butler County from Texas and worked at Wendy’s, where he met the mother of his daughter.
The child was born in March 2022 and the couple’s relationship ended April 3, 2022. Powers continued to care for his daughter alone after the couple separated, according to prosecutors.
“(The defendant) complained that child was difficult with him and screamed at him,” Sheehan said.
Johnson noticed bruising on the child’s chin area, which he said happened when he was burping her, according to prosecutors.
The baby’s vomiting was noted by the mother on April 22, 2022, and on May 9, 2022, after a doctor’s appointment with an ultrasound to try to determine the source of the vomiting, Powers had care of the baby.
At about 8 p.m. that night, Powers messaged the mother saying the child had vomited all over him. He later told detectives he had put her down “harder than normal,” according to court documents.
The child never again appeared neurologically normal, had seizures and screamed all night until Powers called 911 about 5 a.m. May 10, 2022, according to prosecutors. The baby was lifeless when emergency crews arrived, according to prosecutors.
Powers told police that his daughter, who weighed almost 10 pounds and was 22 inches long “was an “a****** to him because she screamed at him for no reason,” Sheehan told jurors during opening statements.
An autopsy revealed Kiara suffered a massive head injury that killed her on May 10, 2022 and additional healing brain injuries.
Underwood told the jury, there are thousands of text messages between Powers and Johnson — some indicating Kira would often vomit in the care of both parents.
“This was a tragic accident,” Underwood said during opening statements, noting Powers did not “lawyer up” and wanted to talk to police to find out what happened to his baby.
The trial is scheduled to continue for 10 days.