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7 year old boy plays key witness in Odom trial - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

7 year old boy plays key witness in Odom trial

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BEAUMONT -

A 7-year-old boy Wednesday played a key witness in the trial of Stephen Odom. The 32-year old is accused of the Jan. 2012 death of 3-year old Ja'Kyra Henderson.

Beaumont police responded to Calder Woods retirement center on Jan., 15, 2012 where Ja'Kyra was found dead. The child's mother, Keneste Lennette, worked at Calder Woods and was planning to take her daughter to the emergency room after work.

Ja'Kyra's seven-year-old brother, Jacob Whitehead, testified Wednesday. He is the only person who claims to have witnessed any abuse.

Jacob said his sister would sometimes have accidents since she was potty training and on two different occasions while his mom was at work, he saw Odom punch Ja'Kyra in the stomach. Jacob said he never told anyone because Odom got angry with him when he found out Jacob told his grandmother about getting a whipping for not knowing how to tie his shoes.

He also talked about a time he had to stay home from school because he said he had bruises from a whipping Odom gave him.

The CPS worker involved in the case, Nancy Blitch, also testified. Blitch is an employee at the Garth House and interviewed Jacob on two different occasions. She said that Jacob's behavior was different from the time she interviewed him in 2012, and one year later in 2013.

"In 2012 he was very outgoing, active and easily engaged. In 2013, he was not active, held his head down and was very subdued," she said.

Other testimonies Wednesday included the woman who's tip to crime stoppers re-opened the investigation. Also with Ja'Kyra's alleged biological father Charles Henderson.

Odom was the boyfriend of Lennette, who was unemployed at the time and took care of Ja'Kyra during the day.

According to Lennette, the little girl had been sick since November 2011, but had been diagnosed with a stomach virus two weeks prior to her death.

An autopsy of the toddler revealed her cause of death was homicide from complications of blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

The defense is expected to wrap up Thursday.

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