DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit man was so obsessed over toilet training that he fatally beat his 2-year-old daughter for having an accident, a prosecutor said Wednesday in an opening statement to jurors at the man's first-degree murder trial.
D'Andre Lane also is charged with child abuse in the Dec. 2 disappearance of Bianca Jones, whose body has never been found. Lane told police the toddler was abducted during a carjacking. The car was found less than an hour later, but the girl wasn't in it.
Lane, who has fathered seven children with seven women, is accused of beating Bianca to death with a stick with a towel wrapped in duct tape, and disposing of her body. Lane told officers during questioning that he had spanked the child for wetting herself.
"He believed that if 2-year-olds had accidents they should be physically punished," Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb told jurors. "The defendant staged a carjacking to cover up the death of his baby."
Lane put the child's body in the car the next day as he was going to take an older daughter and a nephew to school, Goldfarb said.
"The defendant staged a carjacking to cover up the death of his baby," the prosecutor said.
Defense attorney Terry Johnson has said prosecutors have no evidence against Lane and their "case is based on the argument that he spanked her."
Johnson told the jury there was no evidence of physical harm and that while Lane may have hit the girl with a stick, it had a protective cover to prevent harm. Johnson also said Lane was distraught at the disappearance of his daughter and cooperated with police.
"They want to paint him as the embodiment of evil," said Johnson.
The defense lawyer told jurors that prosecutors are asking them to take a "leap of faith" and convict Lane.
"I don't want you to take a leap of faith; I want you to walk through the evidence step by step," Johnson said.