Lanaeziah Burger told jurors Thursday that she hid in the cabinet under the sink while her 23-month-old brother was being spanked.
I was scared, the 10-year-old recalled.
Lanaeziah testified in the murder trial of Andre Hampton, who is accused of killing her brother, Ellijah Burger, in November 2008. Hampton, 27, is not her father.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Lanaeziah told the jurors that Ellijah got in trouble that day for not eating his food. She said Ellijah was spanked with a belt, hard. Her brother was running around the room while the beating took place.
The fifth grader told jurors that Ellijah had black and blue bruises.
Where were they on his body? the prosecutor asked.
Everywhere, she replied.
Lanaeziah told jurors that she also got in trouble that day for not doing what I was supposed to do. Lanaeziah, who was 6 at the time, told jurors she was supposed to remain in the push-up position. Instead, she sat down and watched TV.
I got hit with a toothbrush, she told jurors.
Lanaeziah, wearing a black sweat shirt and blue jeans, appeared calm as she testified. She smiled a few times at her father, who was sitting near the back of the courtroom.
She remained on the witness stand while prosecutors played a videotaped interview of her on the day her brother died more than four years ago.
Lanaeziah recalled during the interview that Ellijah had bruises on his stomach and neck from the spanking. And she recalled how her brother wasnt breathing.
He didnt listen , she told the detective. Ellijah got a whipping because he didnt eat his food.
Lanaeziah fidgeted while the videotape played. She rested her chin on her clasped hands. She turned her head, looked up at the wall behind her and watched herself on the big screen telling the detective how her brother had been beaten. She wiped tears from her eyes with tissue.
The jurors were visibly upset as they looked at autopsy photographs of Ellijahs battered body. Some wiped their eyes and noses. Some could be heard sniffling.
Hampton hung his head and covered his eyes with his hand while the autopsy photos were shown on a screen at the defense table.
Moments before court resumed after a brief afternoon break, Hampton sat at the defense table weeping.
A few minutes later, after the jurors had returned to the courtroom, Hampton, still sobbing, cried out, Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.
Im sorry. Im sorry, he said. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. I dont know. I dont know.
The judge ordered the jurors back to the jury room. Hampton got his emotions under control after a few minutes and the trial resumed.
The medical examiner testified that the cause of Ellijahs death was multiple blunt force trauma injuries to the head and body. The autopsy report said Ellijahs entire body was covered with bruises. The medical examiner showed the jurors the injuries from Ellijahs head to his feet.
Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorneys Bill Stetzer and Bill Bunting rested their case on Thursday. Defense attorneys Norman Butler and Joe VonKallist will begin presenting their evidence on Monday.
Ellijah was beaten inside a motel room at a complex then called AARCS Residence Suites on South Tryon, where his family had been living.
Hampton confessed during a videotaped interview to beating Ellijah with a toothbrush, a hair brush and a belt. His son, he told the homicide detective, wouldnt eat his soup.
Hampton demonstrated on a doll how hard he beat Ellijah with the belt. He recalled how his son cried and tried to fend off the blows.
Homicide detective Bill Ward asked Hampton what made him beat his son for so long.
I knew he needed to eat, Hampton replied. He was going to eat that.
No matter how hard I popped him, he still wouldnt eat, Hampton told the detective.
Ward asked Hampton: At any point, did you think you had killed your son?
No, Hampton replied.
Ward: Your son didnt make it. Your son is dead.
Then Ward told Hampton: Im going to place you under arrest for his murder Youre charged with his death, as you should be.
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