Hudson man testifies on son's death

Samantha Wideman mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Samantha Wideman mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

By Jena Johnson - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Hudson man testified Tuesday morning that his son could have died from many different scenarios.

Day two of the trial of Samantha Wideman, who is charged in the death of her boyfriend's two-year-old son, began with continued testimony of Scott Landers, the father of Ian Landers.

Deaton began his cross-examination by going back to Sept. 2006, when child abuse allegations first arose.

Landers testified that his then estranged wife, Tonya, was "very much so" jealous of him and his new girlfriend Samantha.

"She was mad at me," said Landers.

Nearly a year later, on Aug. 31, 2007, Landers said he received a frantic phone call while at work from Samantha pertaining to Ian's well-being.

"She was freaking out," he said. "She said something's wrong. I told her I was on my way."

Landers testified that according to Samantha, Ian had "knocked himself out" in the playroom, which is also the four-year-old's bedroom.

Again, Deaton brought up the scenario that the four-year-old girl possibly pushed Ian down.

"It's possible," said Landers. "There's a hundred different scenarios and more than that probably."

Landers testified he took Ian to ER at Memorial Health System in Lufkin, Samantha followed him shortly after.

A CT scan was not performed on Ian.

Landers previously worked in the medical field and said he thought it was weird a CT scan was not performed on Ian, but understandable considering the circumstance.

Prosecuting Attorney Dale Summa pointed out that despite Landers concern, he did not push for CT scan.

"But we've been up there (ER) for so long and he was acting okay," Landers testified.

Landers said his then estranged wife's child abuse allegations comprised with "Ian's accidents" were making his life "hellish."

Deaton questioned the consistency of Samantha's account of what happened on the morning of Aug. 31.

"I believe her," said Landers. "I mean I watched her around my kids. She took care of them more than she took care of herself."

Summa revisited Deaton's theory that the four-year-old could have caused Ian's injuries.

"I've seen her hit him," Landers testified. "Usually in the arm."

Landers said Samantha was usually "standing there" when the four-year-old would strike Ian.

A great aunt of the four-year-old expressed disgust that her niece was being implicated in the death.

"That is very upsetting," Kay Smith said. "She was four at the time. She's six now. I don't think any child is developed enough to be a mean, brute child."

Ian's uncle says the defense is searching for a scapegoat.

"He's trying to just pass it off," Ian's uncle, Eddie Lyon, said. "It's not his client. iIt could be this, it could be that. It's sad that someone would try to do that."

Ian's father testified that it was possible the 4-year-old pushed Ian down. The question is: is it possible a 4-year-old could cause injury that lead to Ian's death?

A doctor, who examined Ian in the ER, testified he suffered a severe head injury, only seen in car wrecks or non-accidental injuries, also known as child abuse."

The autopsy ruled the death to be a homicide -- citing blunt force trauma, multiple bruises and a broken leg.

"There'll be more answers when the autopsy medical examiner comes in and testifies and he'll be able to put stuff down that Deaton won't be able to downplay," Lyon said.

What both families won't downplay is how their world collapsed two-and-a-half years ago.

"My sister only has me and my mom here as far as family and both of them need me to be strong so I'll be strong for now and that later when I get my time, I'll breakdown," Lyon said.

"You know they talk like she didn't love Ian, but the whole family loved Ian," Smith said. "It's a big loss for both families. Both families are hurting."

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