The wife of a man accused of hitting a 14-month-old baby in September and allegedly causing the child to bleed inside her brain testified Wednesday she had seen Brian Pringle, 44, of Tyler, toss the child many times into the air and catch her without problems.
Pringle, who is charged with injury to a child, faces up to life in prison if convicted of the crime, a first-degree felony. The trial is in the Smith County 114th District Court.
Shitonya Jackson told the jury, in response to questioning from Assistant District Attorney Whitney Tharpe, that Pringle called her while she was at work and sounded “hysterical” as he tried to tell her what happened to the child.
“He said she hit her head on the floor,” Ms. Jackson testified. She said she had not seen the baby on the morning of Sept. 5 because she had to be at her job at a nursing home early that morning.
Pringle, Ms. Jackson said, had never watched the child for more than four hours at a time.
She testified she and the baby's mother rode together to the East Texas Medical Center on Sept. 5, and then drove together to the Children's Medical Center of Dallas where the baby was airlifted because of her injuries.
The 21-year-old mother seemed worried about her baby, but was not crying while she was at ETMC, Ms. Jackson testified.
But when the neighbor called for help, Pringle resisted, saying he thought the child was alright and that emergency help was not necessary.
Once the child was brought to ETMC, and doctors performed tests, including a CT scan, they found the child had a subdural hematoma, or bleeding in the brain. Dr. Jackie Lee Rose Jr., the emergency room doctor who treated the child, said that it is a “pretty serious injury to a child,” and is usually caused by a nonaccidental trauma.
In her opening statements, Defense Attorney Tonda Curry described the defendant as a “big kid who likes to play.” Pringle told authorities that he was playing with the baby on his bed and that she had fallen off and hit her head.
Ms. Curry said when the baby was hurt that her client panicked because he knew the baby's injuries were his fault. Ms. Tharpe said on Wednesday that she expected the prosecution to rest its case today.