Babysitter murder trial: Expert testifies that 3-year-old’s death was a homicide

Lindsay Partin, who is charged with murder in the March 2018 death of a toddler in her care, awaits jury selection Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Her trial is scheduled to last through April 9. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Lindsay Partin, who is charged with murder in the March 2018 death of a toddler in her care, awaits jury selection Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Her trial is scheduled to last through April 9. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

In a trial that is largely a battle of medical experts, a trio testified Wednesday in the trial of a Hanover Twp. woman charged with murder in the death of a child in her care.

Lindsay Partin, 36, is also charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse for the death of toddler Hannah Wesche on March 8, 2018, while she was babysitting the 3-year old.

Prosecutors say Partin abused the 32-pound girl between March 6 and 8, 2018, while babysitting her. Partin admitted to “to uppercutting Hannah multiple times and poking her in the chest,” prosecutors told the jury during opening statements.

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On March 8, after father Jason Wesche dropped off the child at the neighboring house, Partin picked up the toddler and shook her to stop her from crying, according to prosecutors. The child collapsed and died days later at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

The defense team says Partin did not abuse or injure the child, pointing to injuries Hannah suffered while at play on March 6 and 7 and noting that Partin told the child’s father about the incidents.

The defense also says Hannah was only with Partin 30 seconds to a minute before 911 was called.

Dr. Michael Yang, an ophthalmologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, testified he examined Hannah a few days after she was brought to the hospital. She had multiple, extensive hemorrhages in her eyes. Yang said the injuries were caused by non- accidental head trauma caused by violent shaking.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Chris Pagan pointed out other doctors did not have the same opinion that shaking was the mechanism of the injury. Pagan also pointed out shaking was not mentioned as a mechanism of injury in his written report provided to both the defense and prosecution.

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Yang said abusive head trauma includes shaking. But Pagan said other experts do not share his findings. Pagan said a defense expert believes the injuries were caused by a blow to the back of the head, which was uncovered at the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office when Hannah’s head was shaved and a large, raised bruise was revealed.

After an objection from the defense and consultation with attorneys, Judge Greg Stephens told the jury they were to disregard the portion of Yang’s testimony about shaking.

Although Yang in his report said Hannah suffered abusive head trauma, which could include shaking, his testimony was the first time he said the word “shaking.” Thus the defense could not prepare for that opinion, the judge ruled.

The afternoon was filled with testimony from Dr. Dorothy Dean, a forensic pathologist with the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office who performed an autopsy on the toddler. When autopsy photos were shown, Partin began crying at the defense table. Hannah’s family also cried with one woman leaving the courtroom.

Dean said Hannah suffered deep bruising to the back, some of which were revealed only after the skin was peeled away from the skull. She also had a hemorrhage to the optic nerve and “tremendous brain damage.”

The pathologist said, “Hannah died of traumatic brain injury due to blunt impact to the head.”

Dean said Hannah’s death was a homicide and said the toddler would not have been normal within “a couple moments” of receiving the injury.

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