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Old 03-28-2006, 07:26 PM   #1
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Child murdered-- warning advised before reading

This is a very hard article to swallow. It is shocking and horrible and hard to fathom that anyone could do this to a child. I warn that this will depress and anger you so know this before reading it and if you don't want to feel either of these emotions at this time, then just turn back now.

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This story came from: http://www.dailyranger.com/



A somber, tearful mood prevailed in the Hot Springs County Courthouse Friday morning when opening arguments and witness testimony began in the murder trial of Andrew John Yellowbear Jr. Yellowbear, an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho tribe, is accused of abusing to death his 22-month-old daughter, Marcela Hope Blackburn in Riverton.

Yellowbear murder trial starts


By Alicia Giuffrida
Staff Writer
A somber, tearful mood prevailed in the Hot Springs County Courthouse Friday morning when opening arguments and witness testimony began in the murder trial of Andrew John Yellowbear Jr.
Yellowbear, an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho tribe, is accused of abusing to death his 22-month-old daughter, Marcela Hope Blackburn in Riverton.
He faces the death penalty if convicted of the July 2, 2004, death termed by an emergency room physician “the most severe case of child abuse I have ever witnessed.”
The child’s mother, Macalia Blackburn, has pleaded guilty as an accessory to the crime.
The trial was moved from Fremont County after a successful motion by Yellowbear for a change of venue.
Fremont County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Gist was first to address the all-white jury, selected just an hour before opening statements began.
The courtroom lights were dimmed, and a projection screen filled the room with an image of happy, healthy Marcela Hope Black-burn, eating an ice-cream cone in a photo taken just two months before her death.
“This is how Marcela looked in the early weeks of May 2004, when she was living with her foster parents,” Gist said.
Tears in the jury
The image changed, and the mood shifted all at once. A close-up photo of the dead child’s face now assaulted the jurors: eyes and cheeks blackened with bruises, open red sores all over her face and around her mouth.
“This case is solely and exclusively about Marcela Hope Yellowbear, who had the grave misfortune to have her life and well-being placed into the hands of her parents,” said Gist.
Jurors began wiping tears from their eyes.
From an early age, Marcela was in custody of her great-grandmother, Ruby Blackburn, who turned care of the child over to Macalia Blackburn’s cousin, Littlehawk Blackburn, and his wife Leah Lonebear.
Littlehawk Blackburn and Lonebear took care of Marcela for over a year, but when Littlehawk decided to move to be with family in Colorado, Ruby Blackburn returned the child to Macalia Blackburn and Andrew Yellowbear. When Littlehawk Blackburn came back to town and tried to see the girl he considered his daughter, the door was slammed in his face.
A month later, the child was brought into the emergency room with an astounding number of injuries, no longer breathing.
Gist and defense attorney Vaughn Neubauer told this same story in their opening arguments, and Littlehawk Blackburn confirmed it in witness testimony a few minutes later.
Defense implicates mother
However, when Gist described the details of Marcela’s abuse, he implicated Yellowbear, and when Neubauer spoke, he sounded as though he were a prosecutor in the imaginary case of State of Wyoming vs. Macalia Blackburn.
“This is a case about a mother who killed her daughter,” Neubauer said.
Gist said specifically that the cause of death determined in the child’s autopsy was “complications of repetitive, abusive blunt-force injuries.” Yellowbear, seated in the court in a button-down shirt and tie, looked at each picture of his dead child as Gist detailed her injuries: bruises and sores all over her body, a hole in the base of her chin, black eyes, a broken arm, third-degree burns to her right hand, and deep sores in her buttocks.
Though the child died after Macalia Blackburn suspended her from a closet rod by her suspenders, Gist said, “There was nothing around her neck. The pathologist who conducted the autopsy found no evidence suggesting Marcela’s suspension in the closet was the reason she died.”
Neubauer disagreed, echoing defense arguments presented at Yellowbear’s preliminary hearing.
“Little Marcela asphyxiated to death in the closet,” he said, telling jurors that the pressure of suspender straps on either side of her neck and the position of her head caused her to suffocate.
Yellowbear was not home when Blackburn suspended her in the closet.
Yellowbear faces four charges: two that accuse him of directly perpetrating the abuse, and two that accuse him of acting as an accessory to Macalia Blackburn’s abuse of Marcela. Jurors have a choice between deciding Yellowbear committed the abuse, finding him guilty because he aided and abetted Blackburn in committing the abuse, or finding him not guilty of either.
First witnesses
Littlehawk Blackburn was first witness to take the stand, confirming the narrative of Marcela’s early life related by attorneys in opening statements.
He testified that when he left for Colorado, he gave Ruby Blackburn explicit instructions not to return Marcela to Macalia Blackburn because she was living with Yellowbear again.
“Either one by themselves was fine, but not together,” he said.
Attorneys did not ask him to explain what he meant by that statement, nor why he had concerns.
Blackburn stated that when Marcela was returned to her parents against his wishes at the end of May, she was in good health with no physical injuries.
Also testifying Friday was former Riverton Memorial Hospital emergency room nurse Robin Walker, who with noticeable emotional difficulty went through a series of photos she had helped police take at the hospital the night Marcela died.
Arrival at hospital
Walker recalled that when Macalia Blackburn brought Marcela to the hospital and nurse Kathy Swan carried her into the emergency room, “I immediately knew the baby had been beaten. You could just see it in her face.”
She described in further detail the injuries she had found, including unusual bumps and soft spots on the baby’s head, many sores and bruises of various ages, and areas that looked and smelled “rotten.” She also testified that bandages on Marcela’s right hand were not clean and did not seem to have been placed by medical professionals.
One of the documents introduced for exhibit by prosecutors was an anatomical chart on which Walker had written down all of the injuries she saw on Marcela.
Around a blank anatomical figure of a child were many marks and lines leading to corresponding descriptions of the injuries. Also on the page was an anatomical figure of an adult, also with markings.
When Gist asked her why there were markings on the adult, she paused to collect her emotions. Through tears, she choked out: “Because I ran out of room on the baby’s.”
ER physician
Physician Bradley North, who was on duty at Riverton Memorial the night Marcela died, testified over defense counsel’s overruled objections, “This is the most severe case of child abuse I have ever witnessed.”
He described resuscitative efforts made in the hospital, and some of the signs that led he and physician Thomas Rangitsch to determine she could not be saved, including unusually dry eye membranes and pupils that did not respond to light.
He also testified that an ace bandage on her arm was not the type of bandage a doctor would have used to treat her broken upper arm, and that her right fingers appeared to have immersion burns under their bandages: burns possibly caused by dipping her hand in hot liquid.
Defense attorney Diane Lozano asked both Walker and North about infantigo, a superficial skin infection that she suggested might account for the sores on Marcela’s face.
North said that in his opinion, the marks around her lips could have been a severe case of infantigo, but other sores on her face were not consistent with the infection.
Witness testimony continues Monday at 8:30 a.m. in the Hot Springs County Courthouse.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Severe abuse perpetrated over the course of two months that culminated in the death of Marcela Hope Yellowbear began with the 22-month-old’s father forcing her to stand for hours on end in front of a television set in a cramped Riverton apartment. His motive?


‘I can’t wait until you die’
Searing testimony heard Monday at Yellowbear trial


By Walter Cook
Staff Writer
THERMOPOLIS — Severe abuse perpetrated over the course of two months that culminated in the death of Marcela Hope Yellowbear began with the 22-month-old’s father forcing her to stand for hours on end in front of a television set in a cramped Riverton apartment.

His motive?
He didn’t believe the child was his.
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:27 PM   #2
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cont.

So went Monday’s testimony of the child’s mother, Macalia Blackburn, who is charged as an accessory to second-degree murder for her role in the girl’s death on July 2, 2004.
The father, Andrew John Yellowbear Jr., is charged with premeditated first-degree murder, as well as a lesser charge of accessory to murder. If convicted of the more-severe charge, he could be put to death.
According to Blackburn, Yellowbear’s premeditated malice was revealed when he once told the child, who could only speak “baby talk,” shortly before her death, “I can’t wait until you die.”
Star witness
Yellowbear’s trial is under way in Hot Springs County District Court in Thermopolis. This is despite an opinion Friday by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Court that the state has no jurisdiction over Yellowbear because he is an Arapaho tribal member.
Judge David Park of Casper is overseeing the trial.
Blackburn, 24, the state’s soft-spoken star witness, appeared before the all-white jury following lunch.
Clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, she starkly contrasted the stone-faced Yellowbear, who sat between his two lawyers, wearing glasses, a striped dress shirt and bolo tie.
Yellowbear, 31, looked directly at Blackburn during the duration of her four-hour testimony, occasionally glancing down to take notes. He showed no emotion, even when gruesome photos of his daughter taken by investigators immediately following her death were shown on a projection screen.
Blackburn, on the other hand, began crying when the photos were shown, although she made it through her testimony without breaking down.
In the photo stills, the girl’s thin body revealed evidence of brutal trauma, including bruises and cuts on her face and neck, a puncture wound piercing the skin on her chin all the way through to her tongue, scabs on her chest and spine, a broken arm wrapped in a gauze bandage, lacerations to her torso and legs, blistered burns to a foot and her right hand, and wounds on her buttocks that appeared to have been caused by repeated beatings — wounds so severe that it looked as if chunks of flesh had been torn from the area.
Blaming each other
Yellowbear blames Blackburn for the abuse that led to their daughter’s death. His lawyers are expected to make such an argument during their cross-examination of Blackburn Tuesday and, possibly, in the days to follow.
Although Blackburn admitted to once pinching her daughter with her thumb and forefinger and once slapping her across the face, causing a wound that “went away,” she said Yellowbear performed the vast majority of the abuse, which took place between May 15, when the couple received the child from family members who were unable to care for her any longer, until July 2, 2004, the date the dying child was transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital’s emergency room by Blackburn at around 11 p.m.
It became immediately evident to hospital personnel that the child had been abused, contrary to the story initially told by Blackburn, allegedly under Yellowbear’s orders, that “she fell down some stairs.”
Riverton Police arrested Blackburn shortly thereafter.
Initially, Blackburn told officers she, alone, committed the abuse, but later she pointed the finger at Yellowbear, saying she protected him out of fear.
Tale of trauma
“It began with him (Yellowbear) asking her (the child) to stand in front of the TV for long hours — from the time she woke up to the time she went to sleep ... 8 to 9 in the morning to 9 to 10 at night,” Blackburn told Assistant Fremont County Attorney Tim Gist of the origin of Yellowbear’s alleged abuse.
“Would she do that?” Gist asked.
“She had no other choice,” Blackburn responded. “She’d get in trouble.”
Gist: “By trouble, do you mean Andrew would hit her?”
Blackburn: “Andrew would hit her knees with an object — a claw hammer — the handle.”
Gist: “Did that make her do what he wanted her to do?”
Blackburn: “Yes.”
Gist: “How frequently did the defendant make her stand in front of the TV for hours at a time?”
Blackburn: “Every day.”
Blackburn went on to say that Yellowbear would spank the child’s bare bottom with a “blue, plastic piece of swing” and other objects, two or three times a day.
The results, she said, were “round, open-sore type things.”
Immediately after Blackburn made that statement, Yellowbear, with a stern expression on his face, shook his head and, after a lawyer whispered in his ear, made a “two” gesture with the forefinger and middle finger of his right hand.
The “piece of swing” or “stabilizer bar,” as Gist called it, is expected to be a key piece of evidence against Yellowbear, as, in opening arguments, the prosecution said it is covered with his fingerprints.
Mother’s fear
Blackburn also said that she witnessed Yellowbear burning their daughter with a cigarette lighter, apparently to make her respond after she slipped into unconsciousness one day about a week before her death.
“I’ve seen him hold a lighter up to her foot,” she said. “He had her wrapped in a blanket — she wasn’t conscious, she wasn’t alert — and he took her to the bathroom. That’s when he took the lighter and put it up to her foot.”
“Holding the lighter to her foot didn’t bring her around?” Gist asked.
“No,” Blackburn responded.
Gist then asked Blackburn why she didn’t take the girl to the hospital at that time.
“He wouldn’t let me,” she said.
Blackburn repeatedly said she feared the man, who was once incarcerated for punching her in the stomach while she was pregnant with twins in 2003.
(The two have had four children together, including one child born while Blackburn was incarcerated following her child’s death.)
Blackburn added that until their daughter died she loved Yellowbear.
Next, observing a picture of the deceased child’s upper back torso, Gist asked Blackburn, “Her hair looks thin to me — was she losing her hair?”
“Andrew was pulling it out,” Blackburn responded.
“How?”
“By carrying her around by her hair.”
No more pain
Despite her frail state, the girl, according to her mother, was functional until late in the evening on the day she died, the same day the family — Yellowbear, Blackburn and their three children — went to a sacred tribal sun dance site in Ethete to set up a camp.
Sun dancers deprive themselves of rest, food and drink for three days in order to purify their bodies and seek spiritual guidance. It is not clear whether Yellowbear was planning to participate in the event.
While at the campsite, Yellowbear took his daughter out of the car and placed her on the hood. A cousin of Yellowbear’s later walked by and talked to him, but Marcela was sitting in the car at that time with Blackburn and the other children.
No other people were nearby, according to Blackburn.
The family later went back to Riverton, where Blackburn made plans to meet her grandmother (who was responsible for giving the girl back to Blackburn, even though at one point she had been deprived of custody by the tribe) at the Arapaho casino to gamble and then follow her to her home at Arapahoe to borrow some pots and pans in order to cook food for the upcoming sun dance.
Blackburn left at 8 p.m., and arrived back home at 9 p.m. because “Andrew said I could only be gone one hour.”
“Where was Marcela (when you returned)?” Gist asked.
“She was in the living room on the floor,” Blackburn said.
“She was sitting on her knees watching TV. When I opened the door, he was hitting her on top of the head with his knuckles.”
Gist: “How was she acting?”
Blackburn: “She was just sitting there.”
Gist: “Did she make any noise when he was striking her?”
Blackburn: “No.”
Blackburn said at this point Yellowbear left to visit his aunt in a nearby apartment. (Several Blackburn and Yellowbear family members resided in adjacent apartments in the complex on Forest Drive at the time of the girl’s death, according to Blackburn.)
While Yellowbear was gone, Blackburn said she noticed the girl “wouldn’t stand,” which, she thought, meant “her legs were asleep.”
So, allegedly to take pressure off her legs, Blackburn placed a pink strap through the front two belt loops of the child’s bib overalls, tied it to each of the two overall straps and hung her by the straps on a closet rod 64 inches off the ground.
Yellowbear claims this is why the child died, but prosecutors point out that the straps were not around her neck.
Yellowbear arrived back at the couple’s Forest Drive apartment about 30 minutes later, appearing “anxious,” according to Blackburn.
“He wanted to get out of there,” she said.
He then went to see the girl in the closet, who, Blackburn said, now hanging with her head slumped forward into her chest.
Blackburn estimated the girl hung in the closet for about 15 minutes, during which Blackburn played solitaire on the kitchen table.
Yellowbear allegedly stood silent and motionless, staring at the girl.
Blackburn said she then removed her from the rod and performed CPR unsuccessfully.
Yellowbear, she said, made no effort to resuscitate the girl or transport her to the hospital.
In their cross-examination of Blackburn Tuesday, Yellowbear’s attorneys hoped to show the jury Blackburn’s first taped interrogation, in which she took the blame for the crime (see related story).
They say since she admitted to participating in some of the abuse, details revealed in first interview could shed some insight into the case.
If Blackburn is found to be lying under oath, her accessory to murder plea bargain becomes moot and she can be tried for felony murder — the maximum punishment for which is death.
The punishment range for accessory to second-degree murder is 20 years to life in prison.
Editor’s note: The Ranger will now refer to the child’s name as “Marcela” rather than “Marcella,” as in previous reports, which were based on court documents. The Blackburn family spells the child’s name with one L.
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:55 AM   #3
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Poor Baby...

What a horrible, short life this little girl lived.. I pray she is surrounded by love and light.
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:20 AM   #4
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Unhappy



I cried reading this. How people can be so cruel....... Before I go to sleep tonight, I will have MARCELA in my prayers. That little girl went through hell just to get to heaven...........

MARCELA

YOU WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN BABY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 03-29-2006, 03:47 AM   #5
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The most sickening part of this case is that if he gets the death penalty, he will wait on "death row" for a number of years while lawyers stall his execution. I say (once convicted) just take him out back and shoot his skull apart directly after the verdict.
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Old 03-29-2006, 05:10 AM   #6
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You don't think he should be tortured a bit before blowing his skull apart? A little payback for all the torture that baby suffered?
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Old 03-29-2006, 02:00 PM   #7
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Everything that they did to that poor child should be done to them. A quick death for them isn't justice at all. I just take comfort in the fact that they will get theirs. In this life of the next. There are so many people out here who can't have children that would have loved her immensely. Then there are ____________ (there is no name for them) that would do this to her. My heart hurts for her, but I know that she is in a better place and I would venture to say that she was probably long gone away from here before she physically died. At least that what I pray.

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Old 03-29-2006, 03:06 PM   #8
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man i dont even know what to say about this ... i'm just trying to hold back tears while i'm reading this at work. how does one become soo sociopathic (sp?) ...

i pray that the creator has taken this child back into his/her arms and is hearing her laughter ... feeling her love ... watching her smile ... she has an eternity now to be happy ...
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:46 PM   #9
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There is a special place for both the baby... and the parents.

One good thing about them rotting on death row is that other inmates, i hear, dont take kindly to people who hurt kids. May not even last that long in there.

Not to joke about it, but, I guess this is one good time for an NDN to have an all white jury.

basterds.
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:47 PM   #10
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Defense expert says ‘terminal
event’ for girl was in closet


By Walter Cook
Staff Writer
THERMOPOLIS — A Detroit pathologist who once testified on behalf of convicted Moneta murderer Dale Wayne Eaton testified for Andrew John Yellowbear Jr. Tuesday morning, saying the weeks of constant abuse the Riverton man is alleged to have inflicted upon his 22-month-old child, Marcela Hope Yellowbear, did not ultimately cause her death.
Rather, Dr. Daniel Spitz said, the action of Macalia Blackburn, the child’s mother, of hanging her in a closet by her overall straps on the night July 2, 2004, killed the child. Blackburn testified she did this because she thought the child’s legs were asleep and wanted her to walk again.
Blackburn has accepted a plea bargain for second-degree murder in exchange for testifying against Yellowbear, who is facing a first-degree murder charge and could be put to death if convicted. Each of the former lovers claims the other is responsible for the abuse that killed the child.
The defense rested Tuesday morning.
Spitz’s testimony was in contrast to that of the Colorado pathologist who conducted an autopsy on the child, Dr. Stephen Cina, who attributed her death to hypovolemia, a state of decreased blood volume.
Cina said this state was brought on through repetitive blunt-force injuries, which were evident in the form of bruises throughout the child’s body. Photos depicting the injuries were shown to jurors several times in the Hot Springs County Courthouse last week.
Spitz admitted the injuries that the child suffered between May 15-July 2, 2004, were contributing factors in her death, but he said it was the asphyxiation of the child that ultimately killed her. He said there’s no evidence the child lost 30-40 percent of her circulating blood volume, which, he said, would have been required for her to die of hypovolemia. (The 23-pound child’s entire blood volume would have been about 700 cubic centimeters, according to Spitz.)
Prosecutors argued that the manner in which the child was hung, according to Blackburn’s testimony, with a strap slid through her two front belt loops and tied to her suspenders, and then looped over a closet rod, wouldn’t have allowed the bib of the overalls to impinge upon the child’s airway, which Spitz originally theorized was the case while testifying at Yellowbear’s preliminary hearing more than a year ago.
Spitz told prosecutors that whether the airway was impinged is irrelevant, saying the action could have compressed the child’s chest or inhibited the blood vessels feeding her brain.
“All I know for certain is that clothing was used to suspend this child,” said Spitz, who has seen a videotape of Cina’s autopsy, as well as read the resulting report.
“This child does have a variety of injuries,” Spitz added. “The problem with that scenario is you cannot exclude what was going on at the time of her death. Asphyxiation is likely the mechanism of this child’s death.”
Spitz accused prosecutors of “losing sight of the whole picture.”
“This child died as a result of abusive injuries — blunt-force injuries, thermal injuries — and a suspension mechanism that can’t be ignored,” he said. “The child also had a terminal event. To pick one area of abuse and hone in on that at the expense of the others is erroneous.”
Spitz added that “there’s no doubt about it,” the “manner of (the child’s death) is a homicide.”
During Spitz’s cross-examination, Assistant Fremont County Attorney Kathy Kavanah went after him with no legal holds barred, even getting him to admit he was paid $1,500 by the defense to testify Tuesday and that he charges a $325-per-hour legal-medical consultation fee.
Kavanah said that even if being hanged in the closet was a contributing factor in the child’s death, the injuries she suffered — including third degree burns, cuts and bruises — would eventually have killed her.
Kavanah: “Do you agree she was in need of medical attention even before she was placed in the closet?” Spitz: “Her overall dehabilitated state would be a risk factor. To say this child is in the process of dying is an overstatement. There’s nothing to indicate this child would have died without the suspension mechanism.”
Kavanah: “But she would have died.”
Spitz: “Had this (abuse) continued, yes. Had she received medical attention, the child would have recovered from her injuries.”
No evidence was presented in over a week of witness testimony that indicated that Blackburn or Yellowbear ever sought medical attention for their child during the several weeks she was abused.
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:48 PM   #11
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Prosecution, defense both
rest in child murder trial


By Walter Cook
Staff Writer
THERMOPOLIS — In a drastic move Monday, defense attorneys for Andrew John Yellowbear Jr., the man accused of the systematic beating death of his child in 2004, proposed a motion to dismiss all charges against their client, including charges for first-degree murder and accessory to murder.
“The way it’s charged, it’s almost like (the state) is asking the jury if he’s an accessory to himself — it’s very confusing,” Yellowbear’s attorney Diane Lozano told Judge David Park. “Either he did do it, or he didn’t do it.”
Park, a Casper judge who is overseeing the trial in the Hot Springs County Courthouse denied the motion after more than three hours of deliberation.
Said the judge, upon returning from his chambers, law book in hand, “There’s been sufficient evidence presented (for the charges), and this is a question of fact for the jury.”
The defense motion to dismiss came shortly after the state rested its case Monday morning, surprisingly without recalling its star witness Macalia Blackburn, the child’s mother, whom Yellowbear says is truly responsible for the abuse over the course of several weeks between May 15-July 2, 2004, that led to the death of the couple’s 22-month-old child, Marcela Hope Yellowbear.
The defense rested its case Tuesday morning (see related story).
Blackburn agreed to plead guilty to accessory to second-degree murder in exchange for testifying against Yellowbear, which she did Monday and Tuesday.
She was expected to testify again this week to discuss the abuse Yellowbear allegedly inflicted upon her during the course of their tumultuous three-year relationship, in which Blackburn became pregnant with the deceased child two months after the two began dating.
According to photos presented during the trial last week, the dead child exhibited varying colors of bruises over her entire body, indicating weeks of repeated abuse; cigarette burns and lacerations to her chest; a broken right arm; third degree burns to her hand and foot; a puncture wound piercing the underside of her chin; blood poisoning from feces entering two open, necrotic wounds on each of her buttocks; and hair loss and a scabbed-over wound on a portion of her spine due to allegedly being dragged around by her hair.
To the surprise of prosecutors, Park ruled Thursday that the testimony about Yellowbear’s alleged abusive ways toward Blackburn would be allowed, but only to explain why the woman lied initially to police after she brought the dead child to a Riverton emergency room late in the evening of July 2, 2004, telling them she, not Yellowbear, was responsible for the abuse that led to the death of the child.
Blackburn later told police she lied because she feared that Yellowbear would beat her.
She was expected to testify to that effect Monday, but Fremont County Attorney Ed Newell kept her from the stand.
Newell instead banked on the testimony of other witnesses including neighbors, crime lab experts, investigators and doctors presented March 20 through Monday.
Two defense witnesses
With their shot-in-the-dark motion denied by Park, Yellowbear’s lawyers called two Blackburn character witnesses, a Fremont County Sheriff’s Department detention deputy and a woman who once lived with Blackburn at her grandmother’s Arapahoe residence.
Just before the witnesses were called, Yellowbear attorney Vaughn Neubauer performed an act symbolizing the end of the prosecution’s case: while his fellow attorneys were discussing issues with Park in his chambers, Neubauer rolled up the projector screen on which prosecutors had used to show jurors the numerous graphic photos of an obviously abused Marcela Yellowbear taken shortly after her death, photos that, on numerous occasions, brought jurors and audience members to tears.
Sgt. Ron Blumenshine took the stand first for the defense, saying, after questioning by Lozano, “I would say she’s (Blackburn) not very truthful most of the time.”
Blumenshine said he was responsible for booking Blackburn shortly after her July 3, 2004, arrest. He added that he had been in contact with her 15-20 times over the course of her incarceration.
Natasha Washakie, who said she was Blackburn’s friend at one time, followed Blumenshine.
When asked by Lozano what the child was like during the time she spent with her in the summer of 2003, Washakie responded, in tears: “Marcela really liked attention. She was a baby ... she was a normal baby.”
“Did she ever get hurt?” Lozano asked.
“Yes,” Washakie responded. “I woke up one morning (and) thought I’d go down there (Blackburn’s room in the basement) and hold her (the child).
“I went down there and she had been sitting in a playpen and Macalia had been sitting there playing cards. I went to pick her up and she had a black eye — it wasn’t too dark but it was noticeable.
“I asked her: ‘What the hell happened to baby?’
“She said that she had fallen out of the (swing set) seat.
“I walked away with Marcela and took her up to our room. I didn’t say anything to Macalia.”
Washakie said she then approached other Blackburn family members in the household about the mark on the child.
“I said, ‘look, something’s happening to baby — you need to do something about it,’” she said. “People just, more or less, told me to be quiet. “A day or two later, she had a black eye on the other side.”
Newell didn’t totally absolve Blackburn of guilt for the child’s abuse, saying, “Both these parents were actively engaged in the abuse of this child,” but he argued that Yellowbear is responsible for the vast majority of the abuse.
During her testimony last Monday, Blackburn admitted to once slapping and once pinching the girl shortly after she regained de facto custody of the child through her grandmother — who gave the child up despite pleas from a family member, Littlehawk Blackburn, not to do so.
The Northern Arapaho Child Protection Services had taken the child away from Blackburn, but considered the case officially closed after it granted custody to the grandmother.
Earlier in the week, the prosecution team produced its own character witness for Yellowbear, the couple’s former Riverton neighbor, Teresa Bell, who testified that she once saw Yellowbear grab the child by the hair, twist her arm, and send her back into the couple’s apartment when she walked outside against Yellowbear’s wishes.
Bell said she did nothing at the time because she “didn’t want to get involved,” but later talked to police because the girl “needed justice.”
Closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday. The jury will deliberate shortly thereafter.
If Yellowbear is found guilty, the penalty phase of the trial will begin, during which prosecutors and, in particular, the defense team will call witnesses testifying on or against the defendant’s behalf. Jurors will again deliberate following that portion of the trial.
Yellowbear could be put to death or imprisoned for life with or without the possibility of parole.
Several Yellowbear family members scheduled to testify in the penalty phase of the trial on Yellowbear’s behalf received threatening phone calls over the weekend, according to Lozano.
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Old 03-29-2006, 04:24 PM   #12
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You don't think he should be tortured a bit before blowing his skull apart? A little payback for all the torture that baby suffered?
Well maybe use .22's and let them angle-ricochet for a while. Take a few kneecap and elbow shots in between. Maybe jab a pair of wirecutters in and snip at his ribs. Or just peel his skin off and salt him like a slug.
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Old 03-29-2006, 04:26 PM   #13
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If they dismiss charges, just leave the dude alone and unprotected and let the people take care of the rest....
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:18 PM   #14
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Angry Oh My God!!!


How would my dad put it.....anything done to human kind is given back in tri-fold, or something like that!!!? How can a human have so much anger & hate to take it out on a lil baby??????????????????????????????????? OH MY GOD!
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:16 PM   #15
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this is so sick..and i stoopidly read it....and then i had nightmares about her last nite...i dont know why we have to even know about this what is the point...not like reading it helps the situation any...anywayz my fault for reading it
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyjoejimbob
There is a special place for both the baby... and the parents.

One good thing about them rotting on death row is that other inmates, i hear, dont take kindly to people who hurt kids. May not even last that long in there.

Not to joke about it, but, I guess this is one good time for an NDN to have an all white jury.

basterds.
I'm not sure why there would be a difference between an all white jury or one with all or some natives.... It's not like either race condones abuse and murder of babies...
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:28 PM   #17
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I was meaning how all white jurys on native cases in the past werent the best thing for the native.

Anyway, shouldnt even need a jury for this one, EVERYONE knows they should be in jail. Save the money and put them away.
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Old 03-30-2006, 03:08 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=billyjoejimbob]I was meaning how all white jurys on native cases in the past werent the best thing for the native.

QUOTE]

You know.. I'm not trying to single you out ..and you were trying to be humerous I know, but if I don't tell you how I feel, I'm not being a very good person to you I think and I don't want this to fester or even bother me a little so please take what I say with an open mind and try to understand my point of view, and that I'm not trying to tear up on you...

Thise comment was ignorant and insensitive. You played off stereotyping to make a joke. Stereotyping of not just natives but of whites as well and it did'nt come off the way you hoped, rather it came off that an all native jury would have let him off the hook, and an all white jury would hang him regardless because he's an indian. And also on this particular subject matter .. as sensitive as a child's life, it was in poor taste.

I don't think you are a bad guy or mean to do harm, but maybe just think a little before you make comments/jokes like this please. I know alot of us do it, but I'll take my heat when I do it and learn from it.
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Old 03-30-2006, 03:27 PM   #19
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As my line stated "Not to joke about it..." The post wasnt meant as a, just something to ease up everyones feelings. Thats my nature, I dont like to see people sad.

I didnt imply that a native jury would let them off, no freaking way, that is just my way to say that they should get the worst punishment. Stereotyping white people works becuase it is usually true, you know that. I think ANY jury would put them away.

in all, im not trying to change the thread into a platform for people to campaign for a harsh sentence, just trying to do what I do, ease the pain.
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Old 03-30-2006, 04:52 PM   #20
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In response to the CHild murder case of Marcela ...

Yes, I can understand the resentment all of you must feel after reading this sad story of an innocent baby - i dont just blame the father for this tragedy, but i do blame both parents as they made that choice to beat this baby, and hurt her physically, mentally and emotionally. THere are parts of the story that state that the child just wouldnt cry anymore, well thats because she made up her mind and her spirit was already with the Creator....I too felt resentment while reading this, however, this woman does not realize how lucky she was to have had such a beautiful princess in her life - I have three beautiful boys, (13 yrs, 11yrs, and 19months old) and they are my blessings. I hope and pray for a baby girl .. yet there are people like herself that took her for granted and didnt love her like she should have, she didnt protect her like she should have, and she didnt thank the Creator for the gift she was given - a baby girl - I hope that Justice is served, and they both suffer the consequences that are set out before them, if they do not , then, this doesnt end here as the Creator will ensure that these people will be made to regret what they have done to hurt baby Marcela.
I pray for her soul but I know shes in a beautiful place where she is loved, hugged, kissed and cherished each day...times like this I wish I could have helped prevent this from happening - You know what I would have done? I would have taken her home, made her well, loved her, and gave her a loving home and a longer life... but shes in Gods hands now, where she isnt being hurt - she was too precious to live in our cruel world.

To all my Indian friends all over Indian Country - and those of you that have children - give them a hug, give them a kiss, and listen to what they are saying - do not take them for granted - they are all our leaders, lets love our children - REGARDLESS IF THEY ARE NOT YOUR BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN - please protect your loved ones from physical harm in this manner - a family is a strong bond - children are the closest thing to God.

Thank You All !!
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