Raijon Daniels died of repeated injuries to his skin and to the tissues underneath, Dr. Gregory Reiber said at a preliminary hearing in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Richmond for the boy's mother, Teresa Moses.
Moses, 23, has been charged with torture - with could carry a mandatory life sentence if she is convicted - and child endangerment in her son's death. She has not been charged with murder.
Her attorney, Demetrius Costy, elicited testimony from the prosecution's witnesses suggesting that Raijon may have inflicted some of the injuries himself and that his mother had described him as destructive.
When the hearing continues Aug. 27, Superior Court Judge Patricia Scanlon will determine whether Moses should be held over for trial. By then, the judge said she will have viewed a DVD recording of a police interview with Moses.
Reiber, who helped perform the autopsy on the boy, testified Thursday that Raijon died Oct. 27 of numerous injuries as a result of trauma caused by "battered child syndrome."
The boy's genitalia were raw in one area, probably because of a chemical irritant or a band, he said.
"In my opinion, it was representative of repeated injuries, cumulative over time," Reiber said. "This is a child who had, in terms of relatively recent bruises and scrapes, several dozen injuries in his arms, back, legs and chest, four or five dozen injuries minimum, given the totality, as well as scarring representing older trauma."
Under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Jerry Chang, Reiber said a contributing factor to Raijon's death was ketoacidosis - a dangerous buildup of acids in the blood - most likely as a result of starvation.
Reiber told the prosecutor that he had ruled out that the child had diabetes, which could be another reason for the buildup. But during cross-examination, Costy sought to cast doubt on that finding.
"Can diabetes in children be deadly if untreated, doctor?" Costy asked. "Absolutely, yes," replied Reiber, who acknowledged that he had not reviewed the boy's previous medical records.
Authorities said they found Raijon unresponsive next to a puddle of vomit at his home on the 700 block of South 40th Street in Richmond. The boy lived in a locked bedroom outfitted with a surveillance camera and an alarm that notified his mother when he got off the bed, police said. His mother fed him food mixed in a blender, including what appeared to be pinto beans.
Richmond police Officer Timothy Gard testified that he arrived at the home and was overpowered by the smell of Pine-Sol, "so much so that it irritated your nose." That initially led investigators to believe that Raijon may have ingested it.
But the coroner's report said toxicology reports on the boy came back "negative for Pine-Sol constituents." Moses told police that she used Pine-Sol to clean the house and to mask the smell of her son's urine, as he was prone to wet the bed, Gard said.
Moses also told Gard that she noticed on the monitor that "something wasn't quite right" with Raijon and that he vomited after she tried to perform CPR.
A firefighter reported that Moses appeared "extremely calm and collected" the day her son was found unresponsive, Detective Eric Smith testified.
Smith said an elementary-school supervisor said the boy told him his mother didn't allow him to eat.
E-mail Henry K. Lee at email@example.com.
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