Day 3 of capital murder trial for Center woman on 1-year anniversary of baby Keilly's death

Shakeitha Cartwright (Source: Center Police Department)
Shakeitha Cartwright (Source: Center Police Department)

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Thursday marked the third day of the trial of Shakeitha Cartwright. Cartwright is accused of beating her 5-month-old child to death. It also marks exactly one year from the day that Cartwright's baby died.

Cartwright, 30, of Center faces life in prison. Police allege that on Jan.16, 2013, Keilly Hoyt died from multiple injuries she suffered from abuse by Cartwright

According to the affidavit, Center police arrived at the home, located on the 1200 block of Shelbyville Street, and saw Cartwright on the front porch holding 5-month-old Keilly Hoyt. EMS took Keilly to the Center hospital while police spoke to Cartwright.

The affidavit continues stating that Cartwright said she woke up with Keilly at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. She said she went to check on Keilly at 9:20 a.m., and saw her lying on her stomach in the bassinet.

EMS then called police and said the child had bruising which looked suspicious. An officer arrived at the hospital and saw the baby had a bruised left eye, multiple small puncture marks consistent with bite marks, signs of dehydration, and bruises all over her body.

The officer reported seeing a large bruised area on the back of the child in the buttock area and wounds on both sides of Keilly's buttocks, as well as bruises on the soles of her feet. An X-ray showed Keilly had multiple broken bones, including both femurs, both forearms, both shoulders, and her jaw.

At the home, detectives searched the bedroom and found that the bassinet Keilly had been sleeping in appeared to have a vomit stain. The padding had some type of stain on it and was not covered by a fitted sheet. A detective found a fitted sheet in a pile of dirty clothes and saw a red stain on it which matched the stain on the padding. The detective also found several blankets and clothing which appeared to have blood stains.

Detectives later interviewed Cartwright, who admitted to losing her temper and picking up Keilly and shaking her, according to the affidavit. She also said she had picked Keilly up and forcibly threw her into the child safety seat in the living room, according to the affidavit. She also said she did not know how Keilly suffered the broken arms and legs. She did admit to biting Keilly on the feet, hitting her on the arms, slapping her in the mouth, and squeezing her shoulders together, according to the affidavit.

Officials removed three other children living in Cartwright's home. CPS spokesperson Sherri Pulliam said an 11-year-old girl, 9-year-old girl, and an 18-month-old boy also lived in the home on the 1200 block of Shelbyville Street. Pulliam said there has been no history of abuse reported to CPS before the incident with Keilly.

Day three started where day two ended, with the continuation of a recorded interview between Cartwright and investigators. Current Sabine County deputy and former DA investigator Kevin Windham took the stand Thursday morning.

District Attorney Ken Florence first asked Windham what the significance of January 16 was.

"Today is the one year anniversary of baby Keilly's death," Windham said.

Florence then showed photocopies of multiple pictures that came from Windham's cell phone. The pictures showed Keilly Hoyt's beaten and broken body. Seven of the 13 pictures were shown to Cartwright in the video.

Windham then recalled the details given on her written statement.

Windham read her statement out loud so the jury could hear it. Windham said Cartwright wrote down that Keilly's shoulder was injured when she swaddled her too hard. Cartwright said the arms were broken when she grabbed her too roughly. Cartwright said that both broken legs occurred when she got frustrated with the child and threw it into the car seat.

The Sabine County detective went on to read, "I did not cause the face injuries. My [18 month old son] threw a car at her and hit her in the face."

In the statement read by Windham, Cartwright continued by writing that a week before the incident she popped the baby in her face, and that two or three days before she pricked at her feet because she was frustrated that the baby wouldn't stop crying.

Defense attorney Rudy Velasquez asked Windham about when he arrived on scene. Windham said that when he arrived on scene, no one that lived in the house was present, and he was there for about 45 minutes. Windham said after he left the house, he drove to the Shelby Regional Medical Center ER and observed the child. Windham said that he began to discuss the child's injuries with both Center Police officer Jim Blackwell and Dr. Joseph Bianco.

Windham told Velasquez that he informed Cartwright of Keilly's injuries, but Cartwright did not appear to be distraught when he told her. Velasquez countered that Cartwright was distraught.

Velasquez asked Windham if he pressed her for information. Windham agreed that he pressed her, and he said that he wanted the truth.

"Do you think that you pressing her and pressing her caused her to change her story?" Velasquez said.

"No, sir," Windham said.

Velasquez asked if the purpose of the interrogation was to break down Cartwright.

"No, the purpose was to find out how baby Keilly died," Windham said.

How did the baby die?" Velasquez asked.

"She died from blunt force trauma and suffocation," Windham said.

Velasquez asked next about the feet. Velasquez wanted to know if it was possible that Cartwright was biting the baby's toes and fingers in a playful way and not in a harmful way.

"I would not call that playing, based on the marks," Windham said.

Velasquez next asked Windham to show the court the proper way to swaddle a baby. Windham agreed although he said that he is not the best at swaddling a baby.

Velasquez later asked Windham about the interview process and if it was normal for a detective like Nicole Faulkner to get frustrated  and walk out. Windham said he would not say it was abnormal for that to happen.

Florence asked Windham about his technique.

"All we look for during the interrogation is the truth, and then the lies will develop," Windham said.

Windham told Florence that he was not trying to frame Cartwright.

Florence asked Windham about a second interview. Windham said that Cartwright wanted to initiate the second interview. Velasquez argued that Windham told another detective that he wanted to initiate a second interview.

Florence asked Windham where he was when he learned of the second interview.

"I was at the child advocacy center," Windham said.

Windham said there is no way he could have told the other investigators he wanted the interview since he was dealing with issues at the center.

Detective Joey Haley with the Center Police Department testified about his role of gathering trace blood samples from the baby and evidence. Haley said that he uses a substance call "blue sar" to bring out trace amounts of blood not seeable by the human eye.

Haley said that even though items can be put in the washer and cleaned, the blue star reagent will still be able to see spots. Haley said that he was able to discover blood in a blanket and a pink and white penguin stuffed animal.

Velasquez asked Haley if he is able to tell who's blood is on the items. Haley said that he is unable to tell whose blood it is. Velasquez asked that if it was possible to be from Cartwright or the father Ellis Hoyt. Haley said it was possible.

Stephen Stroud told Florence that between interviews, Cartwright asked him if he had heard anything about the autopsy yet. Stroud said that he told her they were waiting on a call from the medical examiner and that's when Cartwright asked for a second interview. Stroud said after that, he went to the advocacy center and let the other investigators that Cartwright wanted another interview.

Stroud said once they got the interview room ready, they brought Cartwright out of jail and had another interview that lasted about an hour and a half.

Velasquez then asked if Stroud if he threatened Cartwright multiple times between interviews and if Windham wanted to talk. Stroud denied saying Windham wanted to talk. Stroud also said that it took about 30-45 minutes for everyone to get together once Cartwright said okay to the interview.

Velasquez claims that Stroud took over the investigation, but Stroud said no and that he was just assisting.

Florence would asked to play the second interview between investigators and Cartwright.

"There's more to my story," Cartwright said.

Cartwright said that she threw her baby in the carseat more times than what she first told investigators.

After talking to the SWIFF Center, Windham told Cartwright that the baby had more than 20 rib fractures, a broken back and a skull fracture. Cartwright would later say that she never intended on killing the baby. Cartwright told investigators that the baby's skull fracture happened when she would wash the baby and dropping her on the sink.

Windham asked Cartwright to show him how she would hit her child.

"She was in her carseat while I was watching TV and she was whining and I was already frustrated so I would hit her like that," Cartwright said. On video, Cartwright would show Windham that she used a closed fist. Cartwright would hit the table to show Windham how hard she hit Keilly.

Cartwright would continue to tell investigators that she talked to Ellis and told him that she needed help with Keilly. Investigators asked her why she went to Ellis when she knew the baby was hurt.

"Did you know your actions could have caused this baby's death," Windham said. "I didn't think about it.," Cartwright said.

Cartwright would continue and say she didn't think dropping the baby on the sink would kill the baby. Cartwright agreed that she was a bully and the baby couldn't fight back.

"I felt better, but at the same time I would say she is only a 5 month old," Cartwright said. "I need help. I mean I have issues."

Cartwright would continue to say she needs help because she thought she was crazy, because she would say stupid stuff.

"What was it about Keilly?" Windham asked. "I thought that my life was over, and I was upset about it," Cartwright said. "I didn't want it at first but then I wanted her. If I didn't want her I would have told the doctors to resuscitate her. But then after a month, I guess I gave up."

Cartwright said her family abandoned her after she first had the baby and the doctors were telling her there was not much hope.

Windham would continue to ask about the injuries and Cartwright said that she squeezed the child hard.

Windham asked how the baby's genital area was hurt. Cartwright said she would squeeze Keilly so hard that she would use the bathroom on herself. Cartwright said he never stuck anything in her but she would "pop" her in the genital area. Cartwright said it was only one time of hitting her there and that it could have been hard."

Windham then asked about the marks on the hands. Cartwright at first would say she was biting the fingers in a playful way.

Windham asked when the last time Cartwright saw the baby alive.

"When I put her down at 5:15 [am]," Cartwright said. I wrapped her in her blanket and I guess it could have covered her face."

Cartwright said she threw her while she was frustrated then but held her and rocked her to sleep.

Windham asked if she put the baby to sleep or if the baby died.

"No she went to sleep," Cartwright said. " I could feel her breathing."

Cartwright said she laid her on her side and that the baby would have had to roll over on her own in the bed. Cartwright said that she never held her down while she put her in the crib.

Investigators ask Cartwright again if Ellis was the biological father.

"As far as I know he is the father," Cartwright said.

Cartwright said in the interview that he had made her mad one time and she was hurt after he wouldn't come to see her so she called up another guy. Cartwright agreed that it is possible that the other guy could be the father but said that was not the reason she hurt Keilly.

Cartwright said that the anger and frustration started for this baby after she brought the 27-week premature baby home from the hospital.

A few minutes later in the interview Cartwrightsaid that Ellis was not helping out as much and that was part of the reason shewould get frustrated. Windham asked if she was on any medication while she wasgetting angry, and Cartwright said no.

Windham asked Cartwright about how she felt atthe hospital.

"It hurt me about my daughter," Cartwright said."I know what I did could have caused it to die but I didn't think it would."

Windham told Cartwright that Keilly could onlytake so much and asked if Cartwright thought about that. Cartwright said itwent through her head several times. Windham told Cartwright that the endresult was death.

"I thought she would get really, really hurt butnot dead," Cartwright said.

In the video Cartwright told investigators thather youngest son was the reason the heater fell and burnt the baby's ears atone point. Windham said did he do it or did you push it over.

"No, no, he did it," Cartwright said. "I didn'twant to tell anyone about it because I didn't want to get in trouble.

Cartwright agreed that she bit Keilly's hand andfeet but said that she never poked the baby's feet with anything.

The investigators asked why she never checked onher sooner between the last time she held her and four hours later, andCartwright said that she didn't know the baby was dead and that she could nothave done it. Later, the investigators told her that they believed that she isone of the worst possible people because she cared more about herself gettingin trouble with authorities then she did about her child.

Cartwright would say that she did all thesethings to hurt her but was never trying to intentionally killing her.

"Yes, that was intentional but I couldn't killher," Cartwright said. "I feel like y'all think I am not telling the truth, butI am. I feel like y'all want me to say that I killed her, but I didn't."

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