BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Zooming in on a photo of a tiny foot, prosecutor Janae Knallay asked a sheriff’s deputy to identify the black, circular mark visible on the heel.
It was a burn mark, the deputy said. He said it appeared to have been made by the metal top of a lighter.
Senior Deputy Jason Ackerman testified he photographed the burn and other injuries — among them bruising and swelling — to the 6-week-old boy brought to Memorial Hospital in May of 2021. The baby had numerous broken bones and was transported to Valley Children’s Hospital.
Ackerman’s testimony came Tuesday, the second day of trial for the boy’s parents, Jorge Millan and Elizabeth Jara, on charges of attempted murder, torture and child cruelty. The trial is expected to last until late October.
Under cross-examination, Ackerman acknowledged he’s not a medical professional, and it was only his opinion the child had been burned with a lighter and that other marks seen in photos were bruises.
Another deputy, Carmen Holguin, testified to squalid conditions found inside the couple’s Wasco home as Knallay clicked through dozens of photos. There were roaches on bedroom walls — including next to where the baby slept — dishes and pots piled high in the sink, exposed wiring, heavily discolored walls, some with gaping holes, dog feces dotting every room and mounds of items scattered around, he said.
Holguin testified some rooms were difficult to navigate due to the clutter. He said a strong smell of urine permeated some rooms. At least three lighters were identified in photos.
The house was not a safe place for children, he said. The trial resumes Wednesday morning.