Doctor reveals new details in Sophia Acosta case

FRESNO, Calif.

The three-year-old Acosta died in May 2010 after investigators say she was sexually abused and beaten by her mother's boyfriend.

Action News had the only camera in the courtroom for a hearing that included some explicit details about the abuse.

Some of the testimony was extremely graphic.

The only person who took the stand was a doctor who specializes in child abuse cases.

He testified that on the day Sophia was taken to Children's Hospital she was already brain dead, had multiple severe injuries, and that she tested positive for marijuana.

Chris Cheary showed no emotion in court Thursday as Dr. Philip Hyden described in graphic detail the extent of Sophia Acosta's injuries.

"This child had several bruises noted on the scalp... she had several external signs of trauma on her back and her buttocks... abdominal injuries, a contusion to the diaphragm," Hyden testified.

Dr. Hyden examined Sophia in May 2011, after paramedics responded to the Exeter apartment where she lived with her mom, baby sister and Cheary.

Investigators say Cheary sexually assaulted the girl, and beat her to the point of unconsciousness.

Dr. Hyden backs up those allegations, but, says on the night he examined Sophia her mother, Erika Smith, told a different story.

"Child fell down stairs 2 days ago, and fell onto toy shopping cart today. Neither of those would have anything to do with these injuries," Hyden said.

Jaclyn Perez used to be Smith's friend, but now feels she should also be held responsible for Sophia's death.

"I feel that she needs to be arrested. I feel justice will not be served until her and Chris are both in jail," Perez said.

Perez was among a dozen of Sophia's supporters who filled the courtroom.

Sophia's uncle, Nick Williams, says listening to the testimony was unbearable.

"Oh, I mean, it's obviously horrible, to listen to such a mess. The guy's an animal," Williams said.

As for Cheary, his attorneys question whether some of the injuries may have been caused by CPR or constipation.

A few of his family members, including his parents, were in court, but left without saying a word.

Sophia's mother was not in court. The judge said if and when she testifies during this case she needs to get an attorney.

The case is due back in court on July 5.

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