Grandfather takes stand in Angelina child's death trial

By Whitney Grunder - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The grandfather of an Angelina County toddler took the stand Friday in the trial of a Hudson woman on trial in connection to the death of the toddler.

The grandfather, Scott Landers, testified that a four-year-old daughter of Samantha Wideman had been "rough" with Ian Landers on occasion.

Wideman's attorney, Ryan Deaton, asked about incidents where rough behavior was displayed and Scott Landers described the four-year-old as rambunctious and at times rough and recalls having to interject on a few occasions.

Deaton asked Landers if Ian was not as agile as other children at that age that he had seen.

Landers said, "yes he often bumped his knees."

During the state's cross-examination, prosecuting Dale Summa referred back to interaction and asked Landers, "would it be fair to say these two incidents weren't serious enough to warrant mention to (the girl's) mom?"

Landers said he didn't recall rough play being mentioned.

Next, Deaton called Gary Dogatt, Wideman's stepfather, to the stand. Deaton continued to ask questions about the girl.

"Can you describe to the jury how (she) treated Ian?" Deaton asked.

"Same as she did (the girl). She took care of him like he was her baby." said Dogatt.

Deaton asked him how he would describe the girl.

"Was Ian afraid of her during that period of time?"

"No" said Dogatt.

"has she ever done anything borderline mean?" Deaton asked.

"She would often take toys away from him," said Dogatt.

Deaton asked the witness about a time where the girl hit Ian.

"Ian was on the arm of a chair. (She) knocked him off the chair," Dogatt said.

KTRE has chosen not to reveal the name of the four-year-old girl in order to protect her identity, as she is not on trial.

A forensics expert took the stand Friday afternoon and told jurors it was possible for a four-year-old to cause that kind of injury to a younger sibling.

Deaton asked the expert how she thought Ian died.

"I think the injury was inflicted on the first day," she said, referring to an injury Ian Landers suffered on Aug. 31, 2007. "And it took a while for the swelling and hematoma to accumulate."

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