NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Day two of testimony took place in the trial of a mother facing first-degree murder charges in her toddler’s death in Cleveland County.
Rebecca Hogue failed to protect her two-year-old son from her boyfriend, prosecutors said.
Jeremiah “Ryder” Johnson died on Jan. 1, 2020, while in the care of Hogue’s boyfriend, Christopher Trent.
Trent was found dead three days later from an apparent suicide in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge.
Hogue’s mother, Diane Hogue, took the stand to testify Thursday afternoon.
She told the court, she was never a fan of Trent, and “he tried too hard to impress her.” Diane testified Trent even lied about his age.
She stated she and Rebecca did not physically discipline Ryder, but she witnessed Trent pop him on his hand.
Diane told the court that the incident sparked an argument between Diane and Trent. Hogue came downstairs to tell Trent not to do that again, and Ryder didn’t understand.
A state medical examiner also testified Thursday, stating the toddler died from blunt force trauma and had internal bleeding and tears in his abdomen.
Ryder’s death was ruled a homicide after the autopsy was completed in January 2020.
The judge disallowed a few autopsy images of Ryder that the prosecution wanted to present during testimony.
Hogue’s attorney argued the photos would cause the jury to prejudice Hogue and cause a mistrial. The judge decided to omit several images before the jury could see them.
Day three of testimony will pick back up Friday at 9 a.m.