Butler County babysitter murder trial: 5 things to know today

Lindsay Partin at her trial on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Lindsay Partin at her trial on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

More than a year after the death of toddler Hannah Wesche, who was allegedly injured by a babysitter caring for her at a Hanover Twp. residence, a jury is now hearing evidence in the trial of a woman charged with murder.

Here’s what we know from the first three days Lindsay Partin’s trial for murder, child endangering and involuntary manslaughter in Butler County Common Pleas Court:

1. The accusations

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

The following day, 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.

2. What the defense claims

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 her father about the incidents.

Jason Wesche brought his daughter to Partin’s residence that morning with a blanket over the child’s head and her hood pulled up, and “30 seconds later the child collapsed,” defense attorney Melynda Cook Howard said.

On March 6, Hannah and others were playing outside and “Hannah took a face plant” into the ground, Cook Howard said. A day later, Hannah was standing on a toy train and fell “hard.”

“Lindsay Partin told her father that Hannah fell pretty hard, may want to take her to Urgent Care,” Cook Howard said.

The defense also pointed out Hannah was only with Partin 30 seconds to an minute before 911 was called.

3. The case is largely a battle of medical experts

Dr. Marguerite Care, pediatric radiologist, testified that a scan of Hannah’s brain indicated she had bleeding that was pushing the brain. She said Hannah suffered abusive head trauma and would not have been behaving normally.

“Within seconds of a child being injured the symptoms would occur,” Care said.

But the defense pressed the doctor during cross examination with a transcript of her testimony in 2016 murder trial of Brad Young, who was convicted in the death his girlfriend’s daughter, 2-year-old Kinsley Kinner, who suffered head trauma.

The doctor’s testimony was not as exact in that trial about the time elapsing from the injuries to Kinsley and her symptoms.

Care said just by looking a the brain images, she cannot tell the exact timing of an injury. She must rely on other information that is provided to her, she said.

4. High-profile expert witness to be deposed

Defense expert and high-profile forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz, who testified at the trial of Casey Anthony and trials of Warren County’s Ryan Widmer, who was convicted of the bathtub murder of his wife, will have to be deposed in Michigan or by video.

The noted doctor is now 92 and cannot travel to Butler County, according to the defense team. During Tuesday’s testimony, defense attorney Chris Pagan indicated Spitz has a different opinion about how Hannah died, pointing to an injury caused by a single blow to the back of the head.

5. What’s coming today

More medical testimony is expected today, including the from coroner’s office

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