published Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Reginald Tumlin takes the stand in child death trial

  • photo
    Reginald Tumlin listens during jury selection for his trial Tuesday in Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom. Tumlin has been charged with felony murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A man on trial for the beating death of his 3-year-old son is testifying this morning.

Reginald Tumlin, 32, faces charges of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect in the May 1, 2010 death of Jaylen Ramsey.

Prosecutor Charlie Minor has repeatedly questioned Tumlin on how the injuries, which appeared severe, could have happened to Jaylen.

Tumlin admitted he bit Jaylen and his other seven children playfully but didn't have much concern over the numerous bruises, scratches and other injuries on the child's body, saying that all of his kids play rough with each other.

The trial began Tuesday and is expected to reach the jury today.

An autopsy showed more than 50 bruises on various parts of Jaylen’s face and body, numerous lacerations, a healing burn on the back of his left thigh and bleeding on the brain, lungs and kidneys.

The medical examiner's report listed "bowel perforation due to blunt force abdominal trauma" as the likely cause of death.

Dr. Dale DuBois, the emergency room doctor who pronounced the boy dead, testified that Jaylen was struck so hard his bowel "degloved" or came loose and began spilling its contents into his body, causing a massive infection that likely killed the boy.

Police arrested Tumlin on May 18, 2010 on drug-related charges two weeks after Jaylen died. Evidence in court showed that Tumlin hid from police, wearing a ballcap and wig as a disguise.

Tumlin has previously pleaded guilty to a vehicular homicide charge along with assault and marijuana possession charges in 2002. He was sentenced to five years on that plea.

He is a member of Dorris Street Bloods gang, according to court documents.

Neither his criminal history or gang affiliation is allowed to be shown to the jury in an effort to avoid prejudicing them against the defendant in this trial.

For more see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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