A man charged with killing his daughter initially blamed his dog for the 2-year-old girls injuries, a detective testified Wednesday.
Herbert Brown III, 29, also said he accidentally dropped the girl in the shower of his Paso Robles home. But prosecution witnesses testified that those stories dont match the injuries Lilly Brown suffered in February.
Based on the girls numerous bruises and a skull fracture, Theres no way this could have been an accident, testified David Walker, a coroner and detective with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriffs Office.
After Browns preliminary hearing, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Dodie Harman ruled that there is enough evidence to pursue a trial in the case. Brown, who faces three felony charges, including murder, is due back in court June 11.
Brown has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to testimony from Dan Hackett, a detective with the Paso Robles Police Department, the following occurred:
Brown called 911 on the morning of Feb. 18 to report that his daughter was not breathing. As emergency rescue personnel tended to the girl, Brown appeared erratic. At one point, he was seen reaching into a paramedics bag, later saying he was trying to help the child.
The girl had bruises on her forehead, eyelids, torso, legs and arms, witnesses said. She also had a fracture on the back of her skull.
During his initial interview with police, Brown said his daughter grabbed a leash attached to his border collie, which then dragged her to a doorway, where she hit her head. After that, Brown said his daughter appeared lethargic and began vomiting.
The girl was eventually transferred to Stanford University Medical Center, where a doctor suspected child abuse. The doctor said the bruising suggested that the child had been shaken, and the skull fracture suggested her head had been slammed.
As physicians tried to treat her, her brain continued to swell. Once declared brain dead, Lilly Brown was taken off life support on Feb. 19, and she died from a lack of oxygen to the brain that evening.
Hackett testified that he collected a fire poker from Browns home, which he thinks might have caused the skull fracture. That fracture was so severe, Walker said, the injury was equivalent to falling from a two-story building.
During testimony about his daughters death, Brown began to cry, using several tissues to wipe the tears. According to Hacketts testimony, there was a letter at the house, explaining a child custody exchange between Brown and the childs mother.
During subsequent interviews with investigators, Brown appeared disorganized and cagey, and avoided directly answering many questions, said Brett Hartley, an investigator from the District Attorneys Office.
When confronted with details of his daughters injuries, Hartley said, Brown added to his story, saying he had accidentally dropped his daughter in the shower. In an effort to get a response from her after the fall, Brown allegedly told investigators, he shook his daughter. He also said he shook her later when she wasnt eating.
At one point, Hartley said, Brown said he could do more good outside of jail, talking to parents about mistakes he had made.