Foster Care Workers say Former Foster Mom Accused of Murder had Extra Training

Sahara Palmer.jpg

Monday, the defense attorney attacked the state's case in the trial of a former foster mom accused of murder.

Clara Edwards told police Saharah fell down a wooden staircase the night she brought her to the hospital unconscious.

Foster care workers took the stand Monday to say that Clara Edwards received extra training so she could qualify to provide care for the most traumatized children.

The director of the foster care agency said Sahara Weatherspoon was an especially fussy two-year-old and was slow in learning to walk, talk and eat.

She attributed that to the anxiety and emotional trauma resulting from domestic violence in the child's biological family.

Another foster care worker said she had been to the Edwards' home to do a welfare check, and she did not suspect any abuse.

The defense also introduced medical testimony Monday that contradicts the prosecutions medical examiner.

Jurors heard from a second medical examiner who reviewed Sahara's autopsy.

Doctor Philip Keen says her injuries are consistent with Edwards explanation that Sahara fell down the stairs and possibly hit her head on an armoire. He also said her bruises were consistent with injuries a child learning to walk could suffer.

"We don't have any patterned injuries that show it would be other than that and they are still consistent with that kind of a fall," Dr. Keen said.

Dr. Keen says he agrees the cause of Sahara's death was blunt force head trauma, but he does not agree it was a homicide. He says the manor of death is undetermined.

"We don't have evidence that would refute the possibility of an accident," he said. "There's nothing that's compelling that somebody else had to do to the [injuries] to the child. If I can't exclude that I don't want to call it a homicide."

One said during her visit to the Edwards house she never suspected abuse.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The defense says they will likely finish calling witnesses late morning.

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