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Mom tearfully pleads not guilty in baby’s death

A Rock Island teen mom charged in connection with her baby’s death is pleading not guilty, and her family continues to maintain she had nothing to do with it.

Leila Martin, 18, entered the not guilty plea after a preliminary hearing Tuesday, October 29, 2013.  Martin’s boyfriend, LaVail Dunbar, 20, is also charged with first degree murder and aggravated battery to a child.

Martin and several other family members cried as a police detective detailed the injuries found on Jeremiah Morrison at the time of his death on September 18th.

Related:  Rock Island baby suffered head trauma, skull fractures

“Major swelling around the left ear. They noticed both eyes were bruised and swollen, they noticed the head was tremendously swollen and they noticed bruising on the thigh and neck,” Rock Island Police Detective Chad Sowards testified.

“Rectal lacerations were found,” he said.

Later, under cross examination by Martin’s defense attorney Jack Schwarts, Detective Sowards confirmed that some “sort of brush” may have been stuck in the baby’s anus.

Sowards testified the baby’s mother has told “11 different stories” about what happened to the baby and what she knows.

“Ms. Martin gave multiple stories about when the child was checked, when the child was fed, who put the child down. The final version she told us was she left the child in Mr. Dunbar’s care. She then took an hour-long shower. Upon taking that shower she shut the bathroom door, locked the bathroom door, turned the radio on and she came out and Mr. Dunbar was holding the child on the couch,” he said.

Paramedics who arrived at the scene at Maple Ridge Apartments that day say they found Dunbar trying to do CPR on the infant on the living room floor.

Dunbar pleaded not guilty last week after his preliminary hearing.

Martin’s family says he is the only one guilty in the baby’s death.

“I know my daughter didn’t do this. It’s just hurtful to me to hear the things that happened to my grandbaby,” said Timonette Morrison, Martin’s mother. “She trusted him and I don’t really know why they’re still holding her. She didn’t know anything and when she says she don’t know, she don’t know. If anything, she’s here for choosing a wrong man. Not nothing she did to the baby,” Morrison said after court Tuesday.

Martin and Dunbar are held in the Rock Island County Jail, each on a million dollars bond.

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