Accused Ontario tot killer's trial comes to an end

Two-year-old Keagan Davis in Oshawa.

Credits: Facebook.


OSHAWA, ON — The Crown wrapped up its case against accused child killer Michael Monckton Tuesday.
And in a strange twist, the lawyer for the 28-year-old, on trial for the murder of his girlfriend's toddler Keagan Davis, chose not to call any witnesses.

So Monckton's future now comes down to whether or not the Crown did enough to convince the 12-member jury he's responsible for the litany of injuries the two-year-old boy suffered leading up to his death on Jan. 5, 2010.

During more than two weeks of testimony, Crown attorney Paul Murray presented a mountain of evidence suggesting the toddler was physically abused.

And that mountain grew even higher Tuesday as Dr. Michelle Shouldice, a paediatrician at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children and an expert on injuries in children, took the stand.

She re-visited her report on the bruises covering Keagan's body, his many broken bones that were in the healing stages when he died and the internal abdominal bleeding that is believed to have been what killed the tot.

Shouldice said some of the bruises could be explained by "household falls" typically experienced by kids learning to walk.

"It's quite common to see bruises on toddlers," she said.

But Shouldice testified tots do not usually suffer bruises on fleshier areas such as the buttocks, cheeks and top of the head — all areas where Keagan was bruised.

"When children fall they don't land on their necks," she explained.

Shouldice also said it was unusual for a child to suffer two broken fingers, three broken ribs and three compressed vertebrae in such a short period of time.

And she said the boy's fractured forearm, broken through both bones, would have been especially painful.

"I would expect a child would scream and cry at the time of the injury," Shouldice said, adding Keagan's arm would have hurt for a while afterward.

During cross-examination, she admitted to defence lawyer Ray Boggs the boy's arm would have been swollen, red and possibly "misshapen" when it was first broken and it would be hard for a caregiver not to notice.

Shouldice also agreed not having his arm casted, to immobilize the limb, would have prolonged the healing time, possibly up to six months.

The Crown contention throughout the trial has been that Keagan's injuries were suffered while he was in the care of Monckton, who watched the boy for his girlfriend, Leigh-Ann Worrall, for the last five weeks of his life after the mother was laid off from work.
But aside from being alone with Keagan when he died, no smoking gun has been produced to prove beyond any doubt Monckton killed the tot.
The lawyers present closing arguments Thursday and the jury will begin deliberating next week.
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