Opening statements began in the trial of a Council Bluffs man charged with first-degree murder and felony child endangerment resulting in the death of a child.
Police said 16-month-old Jazlynn Harshbarger was found dead last April. Prosecutors believe she died at the hands of 22-year-old Javon Jennings.
In court Wednesday, prosecutors laid out a timeline of the child's final day. They said photos from the victim's mom, Ciera Harshbarger's, Snapchat account show the child happy in her high chair around 10 a.m.
Prosecutors said Ciera Harshbarger visited family around 2 p.m., and Jazzlyn was fine. They added Ciera Harshbarger picked up Jennings, the defendant, around 3:50 p.m. from work before leaving for her job around 4 p.m.
Prosecutors said from 4 to 11:30 p.m., Jennings was the only one with Jazzlyn. Prosecutors said Ciera Harshbarger got home around 11:30 p.m. and tried to get her daughter to sleep, but she seemed uncomfortable. Jennings said Jazlynn had been groggy and throwing up and attributed the illness to the week prior. Ciera Harshbarger said Jazzlyn was groggy and listless before bed. Around 4:20 a.m., prosecutors said Jennings told police he got up to go to the bathroom and found the child cold and stiff.
In court, prosecutors said doctors found nearly 80 different contusions and abrasions from Jazlynn’s head to her legs, hemorrhages between her skull and brain, a lacerated liver and intestines, damage to her brain including trauma, a complete fracture to her left femur, and no signs of illness or toxicology that would explain the death or injuries.
The defense maintains Jennings' innocence and said a doctor will testify that the injuries stem from overly aggressive CPR. The defense believes the mother is the one responsible because she was reportedly the last one to see Jazzlyn alive.
Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of a Council Bluffs man charged with first-degree murder in death of a child.