Prosecution in Lufkin woman's trial recounts toddler's injury

By Jena Johnson - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Defense attorneys in the trial of a Lufkin woman accused in the death of a toddler spent the day pointing blame. Tuesday, it was a four-year-old girl. Wednesday, it's doctors who saw victim Ian Landers at the time of his alleged beating

"I feel the defense is trying to blame anybody they can," said Eddie Lyon, Ian's Uncle. "First it's a four-year-old girl now it's medical professionals, so I feel like they're reaching."

The defense argues had the ER doctor performed a CT scan on Ian August 31, 2007, he would still be alive today. That claim is upsetting some of Ian's family.

"The defense attorney Deaton keeps trying to discredit medical professionals," said Lyon.

Samantha Wideman's sister calls Ian's death a medical mistake. In a statement issued Wednesday by Shandi Hennigan, she says "If the doctor requested a CT scan for Ian, they would have seen more. They would have detected Ian had a subdural hematoma."

"It wasn't proven that he was unconscious when Ian was brought in and was playing normal," said Lyon.

Dr. Medias Medina testified Wednesday morning Ian did not suffer a subdural hematoma the morning of August 31-- citing no reason for a CT scan.

"There's a lot of what ifs and that's not the case," said Lyon. "This is what happened, this is the facts and this is the evidence and it's being presented and that's what we got to go by."

The medical examiner who performed Ian's autopsy testified he died from blunt force trauma. He says the autopsy shows Ian suffered retinal hemorrhaging, a direct result of a subdural hematoma, largely seen in child abuse cases, seldom seen in accidental injuries.

The prosecution was sure to clarify specific dates Landers went to the ER in an effort to prove he suffered a severe head injury on the morning of Sept. 1, 2007.

On Aug. 31, 2007, Ian went to the ER at Memorial Health System in Lufkin after he had "knocked himself out".

According to Betty Barkley, RN, Ian was behaving like a normal two-year-old in the ER, noting he couldn't sit still.

Barkley testified Ian did not appear to be in any pain. She also testified she did not see a serious head injury when she treated Ian Aug. 31.

According to documentation, a doctor noted Ian had "allegedly knocked himself out."

The defense questioned Barkley if the doctor had implicated to her Samantha Wideman and Scott Landers were lying about Ian "knocking himself out."

"I can't answer for the doctor," answered Barkley. "That wasn't my duty to determine if they were not telling the truth."

Samantha Wideman is charged with injury to a child in the death of Ian Landers, her boyfriend's son.

The prosecution called Dr. Medias Medina to the stand mid-morning Wednesday.

Dr. Medina testified Ian was very active and acting like a normal child in the ER Aug. 31.

"According to the parent, he was unconscious for a good while, four minutes," said Dr. Medina.

The prosecution insists Ian suffered a subdural hematoma on Sept. 1 and not Aug. 31.

Dr. Medina agrees Ian did not suffer from a subdural hematoma the morning of Aug. 31. "I would suspect that the skin would be swollen, the walking of the child wouldn't be the way that I saw him," testified Dr. Medina.

Since the start of the trial, the defense argues had Dr. Medina performed a CT scan on Ian Aug. 31, the two-year-old would still be alive today.

Dr. Medina said he saw no reason for a CT scan and neither Wideman or Scott Landers requested one.

"I would try my best to explain it's probably not best to expose a child to radiation," said Dr. Medina. "If the parents still insist we do it, for the sake of the satisfying them, I would do it."

Merrel Hines of the Harris County Medical Examiner's office testified Ian Landers died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.

"It's my opinion that this represents a homicide and not an accident," said Hines.

Hines testified that a subdural hematoma is a marker of child abuse. "It's an indication that some sort of trauma has injured the brain," he said.

Hines explained to the jury that a subdural hematoma is a collection of blood in the brain. "The subdural is the space between the dural covering and surface of the brain," he testified.

Hines said a subdural hematoma is a result of a high magnitude of force, such as an individual being whipped about, swung, thrown, or involved in a high speed car crash.

Hines testified Ian also suffered from retinal hemorrhage, which is a direct result of a subdural hematoma.

"Retinal hemorrhaging are seen in a very large number of cases of abusive head injuries and seldom seen in accidental injuries," he said.

If Wideman is found guilty, she could spend the rest of her life behind bars. Her trial resumes Thursday morning. Check back to for updates on this developing story.

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