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Foster Girl Testifies
November 10, 2008 permalink
In the Alberta Kafka case, a teenaged girl who was a former ward of the accused foster mom has testified about conditions in the home. The defense lawyer tried to impeach the witness by saying that the social worker did not make any notes consistent with her testimony. Do the jurors believe social workers keep notes that are accurate and complete?
Former ward testifies at foster mother's murder trial
Elise Stolte, edmontonjournal.com, Monday, November 10, 2008
EDMONTON - A foster mother accused of murder would make a three-year-old boy stand in the corner for hours and once put him in a cold garage to keep him from waking her children with his cries, another foster child testified today.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named because she was a ward of the state, lived with the woman and the little boy for 19 days, when she was asked to leave for being disruptive.
The foster mother has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the three-year-old's death in January 2007.
The witness testified that the foster mother used to punish the child by forcing him to stand with his nose in a corner for up to three hours, so long that he couldn't walk anymore when he was allowed to leave.
She said the foster mother once put him in the cold garage at night for hours so that he wouldn't wake her own children with his crying.
And she said the woman would force the child to sit on the toilet, holding himself up with his arms on the edge of the toilet seat, even until 3 a.m.
"She'd tell him he can't go to bed until he went to the bathroom," she testified.
In cross-examination, defence lawyer Brian Beresh asked the girl about her relationship with the foster mother.
"Do you remember saying about (the woman), 'I'd like to kill her'?"
"Yes," the witness replied.
"You said you'd like to see (the woman) go to jail."
"Yes," she said again.
Then Beresh gave the girl a copy of the notes her support worker, Aimee Milles, made every time they spoke.
Beresh ran through notes from at least six conversations she had with Milles during the month when she lived at the house.
"In those conversations, there is not one mention of (the three-year-old)," said Beresh.
"But I did mention it," the witness said again and again.
"I want to take a break," she finally said, then started to cry as the judge granted her request and she walked past the jury, out of the courtroom.
Cross-examination continues this afternoon.
This morning, a family friend testified in support of the foster mother.
Tawa Jon Anderson, 33, was the English pastor at a local Chinese church in 2005 when he first met the foster mother and her family. Their children were similar ages and became friends, leading to the families to get together for dinner every month or two.
The prosecution has not yet wrapped up its case, but Anderson testified for the defence today for scheduling reasons.
Anderson testified that he saw the three-year-old once, several weeks before he died.
Both families were eating dinner at the foster mother's house, and the mother gently encouraged the boy to finish.
"He eventually crawled onto her lap to finish his meal," Anderson said.
During the three to four hours Anderson was at the house, he didn't see any temper tantrums, he said.
It was a "very orderly house, very peaceful," he said, describing the foster mother as collected, able and energetic. "We were always happy to be there."
Source: Edmonton Journal 2008