published Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Defense resumes today in child death trial

The trial of a man charged in the beating death of his 3-year-old son resumes this morning after the accused’s girlfriend and sister testified on his behalf late into Wednesday evening.

Reginald Tumlin, 32, faces charges of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect in the May 1, 2010, death of his son Jaylen Ramsey.

As defense attorney Dan Ripper began his portion of the trial on Wednesday, both the girlfriend and the sister said that many of the wounds later found on Jaylen’s body were likely the result of rough play with relatives and playful biting by Tumlin.

“He did not look like that before I took him to the hospital,” said Shemikia Greer, Tumlin’s girlfriend.

Prosecutor Charlie Minor repeatedly questioned the women on how the injuries, which appeared severe, could have happened. He challenged whether they and Tumlin knew Jaylen was dead before taking him to the hospital, which hospital staff testified to earlier in the trial.

An autopsy later showed more than 50 bruises on various parts of the toddler’s face and body, numerous lacerations, a healing burn on the back of his left thigh and bleeding on the brain, lungs and kidneys.

The medical examiner’s report listed “bowel perforation due to blunt force abdominal trauma” as the likely cause of death.

Dr. Dale DuBois, the emergency room doctor who pronounced the boy dead, testified Jaylen was struck so hard his bowel “degloved,” or came loose and began spilling its contents into his body, causing a massive infection that likely killed the boy.

Police arrested Tumlin on May 18, 2010, on drug-related charges two weeks after Jaylen died. Evidence in court showed he had hidden from police, wearing a ballcap and wig as a disguise.

Tumlin has previously pleaded guilty to a vehicular homicide charge along with assault and marijuana possession charges in 2002. He was sentenced to five years on that plea.

He is a member of Dorris Street Bloods gang, according to court documents.

Neither his criminal history nor gang affiliation is allowed to be shown to the jury in an effort to avoid prejudicing them against Tumlin.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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