Girl's Injuries Consistent With Beating By Bat, Umbrella, February 11, 2009

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. -- The trial of a Henry County man accused of murdering his 11-year-old daughter continued Wednesday.

Joella Reaves had multiple injuries on her body after she died in Dec. 2003. Both her mother and father are accused in her death.

The medical examiner said Joella Reaves’ body was covered with bruises and hundreds of injuries from her head to her legs.

But a lawyer for the accused father, Rodney Reaves, suggested the medical examiner was making assumptions about how Joella received her injuries.

Rodney Reaves admitted tying up his daughter with speaker wire and spanking her when she misbehaved but he denied beating her.

Rodney Reaves claimed Joella Reaves injured herself by repeatedly flopping on the concrete floor of the garage where she was placed in “time out.”

Medical examiner Dr. Gerald Gotwitt testified her injuries were consistent with being struck with a baseball bat, a spoon, and an umbrella.

Wednesday, Gotwitt defended his findings when a defense attorney suggested he was working to promote the case for the district attorney. “I would have been more than happy to put your case together as well,” Gotwitt said.

“I am supposed to be a neutral witness,” said Gotwitt. “Meaning, if the DA wants to talk with me, I’m available. If the defense wants to talk with me, I’m available.”

A counselor for Rodney Reaves and his wife, Charlott, took the stand Wednesday afternoon to testify about their relationship.

Charlott Reaves will stand trial in April.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in both cases.


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