Doctors in South Valley murder trial testify that child died of blunt force trauma

EMBED </>More Videos

Trevor Bishop is charged with murdering his girlfriend's son Jimmy. Bishop says the three-year-old fell on his head after throwing him up in the air while trying to cheer him up, but doctors told the court a different story. (KFSN)

As the murder trial continues for a South Valley man accused of beating his girlfriend's son to death, two doctors took the witness stand Monday.

The trial started last week, and Trevor Bishop is charged with murdering Jimmy Horton, his girlfriend's three-year-old son, while she is also charged with child abuse for his death.

Less than a week after Jimmy's death, Dr. Gary Walter performed the boy's autopsy, and after receiving results back from Stanford came to a conclusion about his cause of death.

"Acute encephalopathy due to blunt force trauma to the head," he told the court.

During the autopsy, Dr. Walter says he found evidence of a large subdural hematoma or bleeding beneath the cover of the brain, believed to caused by blunt force trauma because he says few other things cause the collection of so much blood.

"If I had been given no information at all, I still would have seen at autopsy that there had been surgery, serious surgery on the head by removing the bone," he said. "I would have seen that there was a concaveness to the surface of the brain which is relatively soft tissue, and I would know just by that there had been some sort of blunt force trauma to that head."

"The CAT scan showed a very large subdural hematoma and some swelling on the left side of the brain and a shift of the brain."

Dr. Frederic Bruhn is a pediatrician and child abuse expert. For this case, he reviewed police and medical records and established a timeline of events that took place on March 21, 2013.

Bishop takes his girlfriend's children, including Jimmy, to Walmart, where, in surveillance video, Jimmy appears to be acting normal. They return home at around 12:30 p.m.

Around 1 p.m., Bishop says he hears a thud coming from Jimmy's room and finds him lying on the floor. Bishop takes the three-year-old to Kaweah Delta's Urgent Care clinic before he is rushed by an ambulance to the emergency room down the street, where he tells doctors this:

"He stated patient had a slip and fall earlier this morning," Bruhn testified. "States patient found down at home with seizure like activity. Patient was taken to urgent care, unresponsive."

Jimmy, in critical condition, is then taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where he undergoes surgery. Later that night, Bruhn says Bishop changes his story about what happened to Jimmy - telling Visalia Police detectives Jimmy fell on his head after throwing him up in the air while trying to cheer him up.

Bruhn doesn't believe either story accounts for the subdural hematoma Jimmy had and testified that the hematoma was caused by non-accidental trauma.

"It's a better story than the first story, for sure, but there had to be an element where Jimmy was slammed onto the floor to produce this injury this quickly," he said.

This trial is expected to wrap up by the end of this week, and Jimmy's mother Desie Horton will be back in court in June for her trial confirmation hearing.

Related Topics:
trialtulare countychild abuseVisalia
(Copyright ©2018 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)