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More on dad's trial in tot's slaying

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More on dad's trial in tot's slaying

More on dad's trial in tot's slaying
Published by wes213 on Sunday, January 27, 2008
Tagged: Xbox 360,
A Common Pleas jury yesterday heard a Brewerytown father's alleged confession to police explaining why he hit, then threw his 17-month-old daughter onto a chair on Sept. 7, 2006.

The child, Alayiah Turman, was pronounced dead that same day at Temple University Hospital.

Anwar Salahuddin, 26, charged with murder and endangering the welfare of a child, told homicide detectives he had been playing one of Tom Clancy's advanced warfare "Ghost Recon" games on his older brother's Xbox system.

He initially let his daughter play with one of the controllers. Then he put her on the bed.

"She started fussing," Salahuddin said in his statement, which was read to jurors yesterday at his trial by Homicide Detective James Pitts.

"The controller was on the bed. She pulled the cord and the whole console fell over," Salahuddin said.

Because of that, "I popped her in the face. Then I threw her down in the chair. The chair had cushions, but it had wood sides."

He said he "popped" his daughter "like twice."

When asked by detectives if he had anything to add, Salahuddin said: "Yeah, Mia [Turman, the mother] didn't have anything to do with this. The only reason I snapped 'cause I thought she [the child] broke my brother's $600 Xbox and I don't have any money to pay him back."

Salahuddin, who has also used the name Tyrone Spellman, was watching his daughter in a front bedroom of his family's house, on 29th Street near Jefferson, while the baby's mother, who was eight months pregnant, rested in a back bedroom.

Defense attorney Bobby Hoof contended that his client gave the statement to police only after being held in a Homicide Division interview room for nearly 24 hours.

Hoof has alleged that Turman was the one who was abusive toward the child and that his client gave the statement to protect her.

Yesterday, Hoof presented witnesses in an attempt to show that what his client said in the statement could not have happened.

Charles Wetli, a self-employed forensic pathologist from North Jersey, testified that the injuries sustained by Alayiah - including skull fractures and neck abrasions - point to "shaken-baby syndrome with impact."

When asked by Hoof if the child's injuries were "consistent" with her "falling on the chair," Wetli replied: "Not at all."

Under cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney James Berardinelli asked whether the child could have received her skull fractures if she were "thrown from a distance."

Wetli replied, "Of course it could," if the child hit the wooden part of the chair.

Attorneys yesterday also battled over whether the toddler could have pulled the cord of the Xbox system so hard that it toppled the game console.

The defendant's older brother, Tamir Salahuddin, 29, yesterday brought into court his Xbox game console. He placed the vertical console on the wooden bar of the witness stand.

He testified that the cable he had connecting the console to the game controller had a breakaway unit, so that if someone were to pull the cable or trip over it, the cable would break apart, and the Xbox console would not fall over.

Shortly after his testimony, the prosecution brought in an assistant manager at a video-game store as a rebuttal witness.

This witness testified that seven times out of 10, the breakaway unit works. But, he said, there are times when the cable does not break apart, and "the whole system would just knock down."

Authorities asked that this witness' name not be printed for his safety.

Closing arguments are expected Monday before Judge Jeffrey Minehart. The jury is expected to start deliberating the same day. *
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