Witnesses Take the Stand in Martinsburg Child Abuse Case



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The trial for James Mauldin continued into its second day Wednesday. He’s being charged on single counts of death by a child and one count of abuse causing serious bodily malicious assault in the death of 3-year-old Kaiwon Connelly, who died New Year’s Day 2012.

On Wednesday, Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely brought witnesses to the stand. They included the medical examiner that identified Connelly's body the day of his death.

Sergeant Dave Boober of the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit acknowledged text messages between Mauldin and his former girlfriend, Jasmine Dawkins. These included texts from the beginning of December 2011 stating that Mauldin was threatening to beat Connelly after the child was not listening to him and refusing to eat food.

Defense Attorney Christopher Perezioso argued there was no proof that Dawkins and Mauldin were texting and that it could have been other individuals using the cell phones.

Dawkins was previous tried earlier this year.

She was convicted for her role in the child's death on two counts of gross child neglect creating substantial risk of serious bodily injury and single counts of presentation of false information regarding a child's injuries in the death of Connelly.

Witnesses also included the biological mother, Shamika Connelly, her sister Marcia, and their mother Catrina. The three women testified they last saw Kaiwon on Thanksgiving of 2011 and he appeared to be a lot thinner than previous times they had seen the child.

They also testified the child was complaining of an upset stomach, not caused by hunger or having to go to the bathroom.

The trial is expected to wrap up Thursday with the defense bringing their witnesses the stand, closing arguments and a verdict. 

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