A three-year-old girl described by one witness as "having a sweet spirit" was beaten all over her body, the county medical examiner testified Thursday at the murder trial of Rhasean Lowry.
Dr. James Metcalfe said Tatiana Emerson suffered strong blows to the head that cut off the blood supply to her brain and left her brain dead. She died three days after being taken to the emergency room by Lowry, her mother's boyfriend, on Aug. 26, 2014.
She also had bruises all over her other areas of her body, and was struck in the eyes so severely that it left bleeding there.
Dr. Metcalfe said her stomach, spleen, pancreas and intestines were also damaged by an attack.
She suffered whiplash to the neck from being shaken or whirled around, he said.
Her ears were black from trauma there, and her lip and lining of her mouth were torn.
There was a "pattern" bruise that appeared to be in the shape of a belt buckle.
The witness said the injuries were not consistent with a fall down stairs at a motel as claimed by Lowry.
He also said there was bleeding and tearing in the child's vaginal area. Prosecutor Lance Pope said earlier that the medical examiner's office said that was consistent with the use of "a fat finger" in that area.
Lowry had been charged with rape of a child, but that was dropped prior to the start of the trial. There was no mention of a rape or sexual assault to the jury.
Dr. Greg Talbott, who treated Tatiana at Children's Hospital, also said the story by Lowry did not add up.
He noted that one injury wrapped around the child's hip and would not have been caused by tumbling down stairs.
Dr. Talbott said it is very unusual for children who fall down stairs to wind up in the Intensive Care Unit.
He said Lowry stated that he was holding the eight-month-old that he had with Tatiana's mother, Melanie Emerson, at the time Tatiana allegedly fell. He said he noticed she had a bloody lip and he asked if she was okay.
Lowry told the doctor that she was still conscious when they left for the hospital, but lost consciousness en route.
Dr. Talbott said when Tatiana arrived from Parkridge where she was first taken that "she was in critical condition. She was in shock."
He said as he examined her extensive injuries they "began to present a picture of injuries that may not correlate to the story I was told."
It was learned that the child had "profound injury to the brain. She was deeply comatose."
Dr. Talbott said the extensive brain injury "didn't seem to be a survivable injury."
He said, "There were multiple suspicious injuries. When you put the whole package together it just doesn't fit the story."
Shalon Hurst, of Athens, Tn., said Tatiana lived with her and her grandmother for a significant time between the time she was one and until she was three.
She said Tatiana had been back with the mother about two weeks when the fatal injuries occurred.
Asked about the child she said, "She was very sweet and very quiet and obedient. She had a sweet spirit."
Questioned by defense attorney Dan Ripper, she said she had never heard that Tatiana had "fallen flat on her face on concrete" and suffered a concussion on Oct. 13, 2013, at a time when she was with Lowry and the mother.
Ms. Hurst said her brother, Shazon Hurst, is the father of Tatiana's older half brother, but not the father of Tatiana.
The defense called a medical expert who said the injuries could have happened in a fall down steps.