Prosecutor rests case in 3-year-old boy's death; defense to call witnesses

Prosecutor rests case in 3-year-old boy's death; defense to call witnesses

June 13th, 2012 by Todd South in Local Regional News

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.

Reginald Tumlin listens during jury selection for his...

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

An emergency room doctor was the last witness called by prosecutors in the murder trial of the father of a 3-year-old boy today.

Dr. Dale DuBois testified this afternoon that injuries on the body of Jaylen Ramsey showed a pattern of abuse likely inflicted by an adult.

Reginald Tumlin, 32, faces charges of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect in the death of his son Ramsey.

Tumlin's attorney, Dan Ripper, argued to Judge Rebecca Stern that prosecutors hadn't shown through evidence his client was the person who injured the boy.

Prosecutor Charlie Minor countered Ripper's argument, saying that evidence and witnesses established that Tumlin was with the child in the window the most severe injuries, which caused death and did not try to get him help.

"He not only caused the injuries, he never once bothered to take that child to the hospital and that child's dead today because of both of those," Minor told Stern.

Tumlin must now decide if he wants to testify on his own behalf. Ripper told Stern he plans to call witnesses for his client.

Latise Ramsey, the boy's aunt, testified that on April 4, 2010, she ran across Tumlin in a grocery store parking lot. Tumlin asked if the boy could stay with him for Easter. Ramsey called Jaylen's mother who said it was okay.

The boy continued to stay with Tumlin as part of an effort to potty train him, which the estranged parents agreed on.

After her testimony, Ramsey clarified that the problems Jaylen returned with were bite marks and bruises to his body. And on each return she and the boy's mother would limit time Tumlin could spend with Jaylen and threatened to call police with child abuse allegations.

Police arrested Tumlin in May 2010 on drug-related charges shortly after his son, Jaylen Ramsey, died at the local Children's Hospital.

Evidence in court showed he had been hiding from police, knowing they were looking for him, even wearing a ballcap with a wig as a disguise.

Tumlin has previously pleaded guilty to a vehicluar homicide charge along with assault and marijuana possession charges in 2002. Tumlin 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.

Tumlin's girlfriend, Shemekia Greer, drove Jaylen Ramsey to the hospital at on May 1, 2010, when the boy complained of "stomach pain" and was "gasping for air."

Lead investigator, Chattanooga police Detective James Tate, testified that Tumlin told him he didn't go to the hospital because he was "worried that police or staff would see the boy's injuries."

An autopsy later showed more than 50 bruises on various parts of the toddler's face and body, numerous lacerations and a healing burn on the back of his left thigh.

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

DuBois 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.

For more see tomorrow's Times Free Press.