High court okays prosecutors to paint dad as repeat child abuser
BATON ROUGE - The state supreme court found a father's alleged prior child abuse can be used against him in a trial where he faces charges for the death of his 8-year-old son.
Michael Robertson is accused of the 2012 death of the child, Xzayvion Riley. Riley, the coroner's office said then, died of an infection related to his internal organs being ruptured from beatings. The coroner found numerous signs of trauma - suggesting on-going and previous abuse.
Prosecutors hoped to paint Robertson as a perpetual child abuser in court, but his attorneys argued that should not be allowed.
In a ruling Friday, the Louisiana Supreme Court sided with the Baton Rouge District Attorney's office.
"In this case, we find that the prior acts of abuse committed by the defendant against the child victim, as set forth by the state in its writ application, are admissible. Each of the acts at issue involves the battering and/or abuse of the victim by the defendant over the course of several years in his short life, and have independent and relevant bases for admissibility," justices wrote in the ruling.
DA Hillar Moore said he was pleased with the decision, obviously.
"Cases involving children who cannot defend themselves and now who cannot talk are very difficult. This case, like many other child abuse cases, shows an escalation of abuse to this child. It is important for the jury to see what this child has endured and to hear the entirety of the abuse to make an appropriate and just decision for the victim, our community and this defendant," Moore said in a statement released to WBRZ after the court's decision.
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