July 9, 2007
Written By: Britten Follett
Jury selection began at 9:00 am in the Bristow, OK courtroom. 22 potential jurors were called into the jury box for questioning. Layers asked jurors whether they had seen coverage of Kelsey’s case on the news, and whether that would impact their ability to give Raye Dawn Smith a fair trial. All but one juror told the judge they could give her a fair trial; one woman said she had a relative at Kelsey’s daycare and would not be able to hear the facts of the case without a bias.
Lawyers explained jurors will hear three types of evidence:
1)What people say.
2) What lawyers from both sides agree are facts.
3)Tangible evidence you can see and feel. They explained it is the state’s job to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Raye Dawn is guilty of the things she is accused of.
They questioned jurors about their experience with child abuse, with the Department of Human Services; asked how many of them knew anyone who had ever broken their collarbone; asked if they feel doctors can always be trusted, if police can make mistakes, if custody battles hurt children, if jurors could believe Michael Porters testimony, even though he has pleaded guilty to allowing Kelsey to be abused. Lawyers asked if jurors have any preconceived notions about what criminals should look like, what kind of house they should have, how they live, what kind of family they have, if jurors have any issue
deciding Raye Dawn’s punishment, if she is found guilty.
Raye Dawn’s lawyer asked whether jurors will be more inclined to believe Raye Dawn is guilty of something, if she does not testify.
Lawyers selected 7 women, 5 men, and a male and female as alternates. 9 of those jurors have children themselves; 7 are married; 2 are divorced; 2 are single; 1 is a widow. One woman works at a hospital, one spent 12 years at he Tulsa Boy’s Home counseling troubled youth, another woman watches Court TV all the time.
Once the jury was selected nearly everyone from both the Smith and the Briggs family was forced to leave the courtroom, due to the rule of sequestration. Anyone who has been subpoenaed as a witness is not allowed to listen to any of the evidence. Lawyers agreed to allow one family member from each side listen in. Kelsey’s biological father, Lance opted not to hear the testimony and see the pictures, and asked his sister Jeanna Fowler to sit in on his family’s behalf.
At 3:35 pm, jurors took their oath and before 4:00 pm, opening arguments began.
Lincoln County District Attorney Richard Smothermon made the following argument:
On October 11, 2005, Kelsey Smith Briggs was murdered. She was beaten to death. Dr. Yacoub, the medical examiner who examined Kelsey’s dead body will testify she died from a blow to the stomach that caused her pancreas to burst; she suffered scrapes to her back, bruising to her genital area, bruises to her head, her torso, and all of her extremities.
But that is not the beginning of the story it’s actually the final chapter of a horrible tragedy.
October 11, 2005, Patti Jean Bonner, Kelsey’s CHBS case worker will testify she left Kelsey at 1:30 with her mother and the child was fine.
Between 1:30 and 3:27 when emergency responders arrived at the scene and Kelsey was for all intensive purposes, dead, only two people were around Kelsey, Michael Porter and Raye Dawn. Only one of them inflicted all of the injuries.
What happened? That’s your job to figure out.
Kelsey was born December 28, 2002.
Her mom and her biological father Lance Briggs divorced long before she was born. Raye Dawn married Michael Porter; Lance married a woman named Ashley.
The Briggs family documented abuse, took photo after photo, of injuries that started January 10, 2005, when she broke her collarbone.
Dr. Griffin at Shawnee Medical Center diagnosed Kelsey with the break.
Raye Dawn says she fell out of her crib onto a slide.
4 days later, the Briggs family found her buttocks covered with bruises, pin prick scrapes all over her backside. The Briggs took her back to the emergency room where Dr. Griffin found these new injuries concerning and called authorities.
Raye Dawn told DHS case workers she did not know the bruises were there, and never saw them.
But you will hear from two of Raye Dawn’s friends who say Raye Dawn admitted to spanking Kelsey, she claimed it was through a diaper.
Now Raye Dawn told prosecutors, Kelsey must have fallen on a brush that was left on the floor.
Kelsey would later be diagnosed with 2 broken legs in various stages of healing. Raye Dawn says Kelsey broke one leg by tripping on flip flops, the second leg by over compensation. A doctor agreed. That doctor happens to be the sister of Raye Dawn’s lawyer.
An expert, in child abuse injuries, Dr. Sullivan from OU Children’s Hospital will testify there’s no way the breaks happened by accident. He has never heard of that happening and it must be child abuse.
Kelsey suffered injury after injury, bruising to both sides of her face, even her stomach. Raye Dawn says she Michael Porter and Kelsey got into an accident on August 19th, 2005. Kelsey was strapped into a car seat in the back of the pickup. The car hit the driver’s side door. Michael Porter was the only person injured in the crash.
You have a challenge. Listen very carefully. Listen for this, “Did this witness talk about Raye Dawn abusing Kelsey or allowing her to be abused?”
There will be a good deal of innuendos made in this case, but the only person with any concrete evidence as having abused the girl or allowing her to be abused, is Raye Dawn.
One man, who does not have any stake in this case, says he saw Raye Dawn drag Kelsey out of the Rainbow convenience store in Meeker. Kelsey was screaming and Raye Dawn was spanking her. Kelsey tried to sit down to avoid another spanking. He says he saw Raye Dawn throw Kelsey into the back seat.
Michael Porter will testify he pleaded guilty to 30 years in prison because he saw Raye Dawn abuse Kelsey on numerous occasions and did nothing to stop it.
The Briggs family, doctors, DHS told Raye Dawn Kelsey was being abuse dand Raye Dawn did nothing to stop it.
She died from being beaten to death.
Why? Because she did it or did nothing to stop it.
Dr. Block, an expert in child abuse from Tulsa says Kelsey was a classic example of a child suffering from Battered Child Syndrome. He’ll give his opinion that all of the bruises, the broken bones, everything was a result of ongoing abuse.
October 11th should never have happened; it was obvious she could have stopped this train wreck herself.
Raye Dawn’s attorney Steve Huddleston made his opening arguments:
I’m here to tell you a totally different side of this case.
These two families have a history of animosity.
Raye Dawn married Lance Briggs in 2001. When they divorced, a long custody battle over Kelsey Smith Briggs followed.
Raye Dawn had custody of Kelsey as a single mother until April of 2004 with almost sole custody of Kelsey. That October Raye Dawn met Michael Porter.
On January 10, 2005 Kelsey crawled out of her crib. Raye Dawn took her to the emergency room. There were no referrals of abuse, no allegations of abuse. January 14, 2005 the Briggs made the first accusations against Raye Dawn. Kathie Briggs, Lance’s mother filed for guardianship of Kelsey on January 24, 2005. Raye Dawn did not see her child for a week. Meeker police investigated the collarbone, but did not file any charges. Until now, no charges have been filed against my client, ever.
The Briggs were not happy with the outcome and kept filing complaints. Raye Dawn did not get unsupervised visits until March 11, 2005 when the judge ruled to allow it.
Kelsey Smith Briggs would go back and forth between families. Raye was supposed to go to classes to get Kelsey back permanently. She did everything she was asked to do.
March 23, 2005 Kelsey got a bump on her nose when she fell in the kitchen at Raye Dawn’s house. Kathie Briggs reported it to DHS. We’ll show you pictures of this bruise and you’ll see it’s a bruise any two or three year old could get.
Another complaint filed April 4, 2005 by someone in the Briggs family, again, no charges.
April 13, 2005 Lance and Ashley had complete custody of Kelsey.
April 14, 2005 Kelsey went to the zoo with one of her mom’s relatives. DHS was called and Kelsey went to the emergency room, but the doctor told Raye Dawn to let Kelsey walk.
April 15-17th, Kelsey was with the Smith family and Raye Dawn.
April 18th, Raye Dawn and Michael Porter got married.
At 4pm that day Kelsey went to the Briggs house, where she started crying uncontrollably, so Kathie called Raye to have her come over.
From the 18th through the 20th Kelsey was with the Briggs.
When Raye Dawn got her back Kelsey was crawling. She took her to Dr. Koons who referred Kelsey to Dr. Barrett, who diagnosed her with 2 non descript fractures, which means the bone is intact, it’s a hairline crack, called a spiral fracture because of the way it looks.
Between April 14th and April 25th, Raye Dawn took Kelsey to the doctor twice. When she went home with Kathie, she said Kelsey was crying and would not walk.
April 28th, Kathie filed a complaint with DHS. No charges were filed.
On May 2, 2005 Kathie took Kelsey to OU and Dr. Sullivan saw her. Dr. Barrett said the left leg could be injured by over compensation.
Judge Key took Kelsey away from both Raye Dawn and Kathie and placed her with Gayla Smith, Raye Dawn’s mom from May 3rd through June 15th.
Everyone went to court in June and Judge Key returned Kelsey to Raye Dawn because she had completed everything and always took her to the doctor.
Judge Key ordered DHS, CASA and CHBS to watch Kelsey along with the District Attorney’s office. There were even doctors watching this case.
Once a month Raye Dawn was in court, and had how many home visits.
In August my client, Michael Porter and Kelsey were hit by a drunk driver. Since Ashley had scheduled visitation early the next morning, Raye Dawn decided to leave the emergency room at 2am after Kelsey saw a nurse, not a doctor.
Between June 15 and October 11th, social workers were in Raye Dawn’s house almost every third day, they did checks, and all of this is in writing. The Smith family was around Kelsey.
October 4th, Jean Bonner was in the home.
October 6th, Jean Bonner was in the home.
October 7th, DHS was in the home.
October 11th, Jean Bonner was in the home.
Kelsey and Raye Dawn took a nap. When Michael Porter got home Raye Dawn left to pick up Whitney, Michael Porter’s daughter from school, when she got back an ambulance was at her house.
Raye Dawn was not at the house. She was not at the house.
Evidence will show Michael Porter fainted at the hospital.
2 days later, we have evidence to show he faked a suicide attempt.
The autopsy shows flesh tears to Kelsey’s rectum.
Make no mistake Michael Porter is responsible for Kelsey’s death. My client has never been charged with murder. We’re not here for a murder trial. Raye Dawn has always cooperated. Michael Porter has always been the only one charged.
In fact the D.A. asked her to testify against Michael Porter and she agreed.
The D.A. asked her to testify against Michael Porter and she agreed.
Evidence will show my client is a young girl, who escaped a bad marriage, was a single mom, who thought Michael Porter would be a good husband. Now she realizes she made a horrible mistake and he is not what he appeared to be.
Kelsey was in the middle of allegations from both families and she suffered for it. There were two families making so many allegations that Porter stood in the shadows.
Kathie Briggs did everything she could to get Raye Dawn charged.
The Smith family is in my opinion, a good family. If they suspected abuse, they would be the first to report it.
For 10 months, DHS, the police, CHBS, CASA, doctors, the D.A.’s office, everyone was watching this case.
The state says we should have known. My client should have known, even though everyone else did not.
Look what was going on at the time. Look what she was doing. Her life was an open book for 10 months. Everyone was watching her.
At the end we will ask for a verdict of not guilty. If she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then convict her.
Kelsey was not abused by my client. She loved her daughter and her daughter was her life.
The jury has been instructed to return tomorrow at 9 am.
July 10, 2007
John David Jenkins Testimony
At 9:08 John David Jenkins a Meeker volunteer firefighter took the stand. Jenkins is also an intermediate EMT which is one
step below a paramedic. He has been trained in his job since 2000.
On October 11, 2005, at 3:16 pm Jenkins was dispatched to an unresponsive child. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office dispatched he and Mr. Sebastian to the wrong address. They only realized they were going the wrong way when they heard a second call dispatching Prague over the radio. They were dispatched to the address 4 and a half miles E. on Highway 62. Jenkins knew it was the Smith house.
When they first arrived they drove up the driveway and met Gayla carrying Kelsey over her shoulder.
It’s a long windy driveway with a nice brick home.
He took the baby from Gayla, turned her over and realized she was in distress. She was blue, had not been breathing for quite awhile. He took her into the back of the ambulance and assessed her airway, noting she was not breathing and had no pulse, he started CPR.
Outside Jenkins says it was chaos, people were screaming and hollering, and he didn’t want them to see him working on her.
He did manual CPR while Mr. Sebastian set her up for oxygen, a BVM is a cup that goes up over her mouth and closes her mouth and nose to push air into the lungs. 4 minutes later Prague EMT arrived and put Kelsey on a monitor that looks for electric activity on the heart. There were two or three spikes, then she flat lined. They tried to intubate her, the process where a tube is inserted in the airway that keeps the tongue off the back of the throat.
Raye Dawn wiped away a tear during this part of testimony.
Jenkins says it is 7 or 8 miles from the house to the hospital and they got no response from Kelsey on during the trip.
The Prague staff was waiting for her when they arrived and he had nothing further to do with Kelsey.
Cross Examination Steve Huddleston
When you arrived you saw Gayla coming at you, how far is the house off of the highway?
Where was Porter?
Over my right shoulder, he was pretty upset, especially when I turned Kelsey over, she was blue.
In the Preliminary hearing against Mr. Porter you told the judge oxygen keeps blood moving, and a child could turn blue in 3-5 minutes. Is that true?
Raye Dawn was not present at the house at this time, correct?
No, she arrived right before we left.
Did Porter ever say he did CPR on Kelsey?
No not to me.
You also testified in the preliminary hearing, the child’s body temperature was still warm to touch and rigor had not set in. It takes at least 30 minutes for rigor to set in, correct Mr. Jenkins?
Yes, usually. Kelsey was not cold to the touch.
Once you were done with Kelsey what happened with Mr. Porter?
We just got through with Kelsey and someone said Mike passed out in the hospital. He was having chest pains and lying on the ground so we took him into the ER on a spine board.
Did you have any other interaction with Mr. Porter?
He was talking in the room, but I could not hear him talking. There
were a lot of family members, a lot of upset people.
Were members of the Smith family there?
Is it fair to say they were upset?
Mr. Porter was the only person who passed out that day?
Redirect Asst. District Attorney Pattye High
Mr. Jenkins is it true rigor doesn’t always set in, in 30 minutes?
It varies from patient to patient.
Melissa Gibson Testimony
Melissa is a physicians assistant or P.A. at Unity Health Center in Shawnee. She is a mid level practitioner who works under a doctor. On October 11, 2005 she was an employee at Prague she ran the clinic, the emergency room, and inpatient area. Prague is a rural access hospital and there is not a full time doctor on staff. She was running the show that day.
Kelsey came in. We knew she was coming, so we were in the ER waiting. She had no heartbeat and remained that way, she never regained it. When she arrived at 3:45 pm she had been down approximately 45 minutes and they tried for 45 minutes to resuscitate her. Upon exam, Kelsey’s pupils were fixed and dilated. I noticed two small bruises on her face and shin, nothing out of the ordinary, except that her abdomen was enlarged, bloated. We thought the tube that had been put in her airway may have been leaking into her stomach causing the bloating, so we re-intubated her but it did not relieve the
pressure on her abdomen. It did not harm Kelsey.
When I notified Raye Dawn things were not going well she started crying. Later when I went back into the waiting room to tell her Kelsey was dead, she quickly ran away from me.
Cross Examination Steve Huddleston
October 17, 2005 you gave a statement to OSBI in your office at Prague correct?
You said no additional IV’s were put in Kelsey and gave her two medications to get her heart moving. You say her abdomen was heard, sticking out and you dropped a tube to try to suck the air out. What else did you do?
We did a hemoglobin test and a blood test. Her hemoglobin was low a 6.9.
You did not notice any unusual bruising?
No, I turned her to look at her back and did not notice any injury.
How about an injury to her gum or lip? Was there any blood?
No I would have noticed blood.
So you saw Raye Dawn and she was crying, isn’t that what most mothers do who lost their children?
This is the first mother I’ve seen who has lost her child.
Where did she run to when she ran away from you?
I don’t know.
Was it her family?
Maybe her family.
You told OSBI that Michael Porter did not console Raye Dawn?
He was separated from her because he was an inpatient because he passed out. I did see him standing behind her after the medical examiner left and Raye Dawn was allowed to hold Kelsey in the chair.
So when Michael Porter passed out what did you do?
We checked him for injuries and cleared him.
Do you know if he was faking?
No there is no way of telling, no test.
Did you take any DNA from Michael Porter?
No we took no blood.
Melissa you were primarily trying to resuscitate Kelsey, not examine her for injuries, correct?
Yes, resuscitation was the main goal, not documenting bruises.
Did you notice if the frenulum (the piece of tissue that connects the lip with the gums) was in tact?
No, I did not notice.
Dr. Inas Yacoub Testimony
**The following testimony is graphic.***
Dr. Yacoub took the stand at 9:45 am.
District Attorney Richard Smothermon asked Lance to leave the court room so he would not have to see the autopsy pictures of his daughter.
Raye Dawn began crying.
Dr. Yacoub is a forensic pathologist who graduated from a medical school in Cairo, Egypt. It is her job to determine why people die, whether it’s from natural diseases or trauma. She has worked for the Chief Medical Examiner in Oklahoma City for three years.
I viewed Kelsey Shelton Briggs body at the morgue in Oklahoma City on October 11, 2005. I peformed an internal and an external examination of Kelsey’s body. This is a case in which a two year old female who had been treated for injuries before that could not be explained, died suddenly. I took photos when the body was received, collected samples, and examined clothes for evidence.
Kelsey was wearing a t-shirt and a diaper.
State entered exhibits 12-13 into evidence (autopsy photos)
The first picture was of Kelsey’s upper body and head. She had a tube in her mouth for breathing and an IV in her left arm.
Her body was covered with bruises. She was wearing orange nail polish.
Yacoub explained she documents all of the external injuries with photos and diagrams.
Include pictures of bruises on Kelsey’s right ear and several on her right cheek. A total of 5 bruises can be seen in the first picture. Yacoub says the bruises appear recent, a few minutes or a few hours before.
Exhibit 30-Left side of Kelsey’s face had a dark bruise on her left cheek, her earring had been removed before Dr. Yacoub received the body. There were areas of contusion below her right ear.
Exhibit 28-Small bruise between her eyes, this one is paler than the others.
Exhibit 32-Torn upper frenulum, the piece of tissue that connects the lips to the gums is bruised and torn. Yacoub says it was caused from blunt force trauma by an object or some other instrument, a blow to the area that could be caused by intubation, would likely have bled.
Exhibit 31-No injury to lower frenulum.
I noted her gums and lips were especially pale.
Photos of Kelsey without clothes.
Exhibit 19-Contusions to her left chest and lower right abdomen, clearly not in the area where the medical patches were placed.
Exhibit 14-Bruises to her lower right abdomen, at least 7, bruises all over her legs, a very large bruise on her left leg and left thigh, several small bruises on right leg, could be of differing ages, different colored.
Exhibit 15-A close up of the large bruise on the left leg.
Exhibit 27-Kelsey’s baby toe nail was missing and she appears to have a small puncture wound on the bottom of her left foot.
Exhibit 24-Back of right hand has bruises.
Exhibit 25-Healing scrape on a finger on her left hand.
Exhibit 20-Very small bright red abrasion on her back, this is a scrape of the service, a type of blunt force trauma.
Exhibit 7-A large picture of an autopsy diagram that illustrates an injury to the left and right side of her back that could be caused by the same injury as the contusions to her front, because they are in relatively the same areas.
Exhibit 21-Area of trauma on the left butt cheek. I cut this open to see that it was truly a contusion of the tissue under the skin.
She also had some bruising around her anus.
Judge ordered the courtroom to break for 15 minutes because Raye Dawn began sobbing uncontrollably.
Exhibit 6 & 7-Diagram of skull showing the location of 4 bruises between her hair and her skull bone.
I collected toxicology, x-rayed Kelsey from head to toe, and examined the injuries under her skin. When I checked the abdominal cavity for bleeding, I found bruising of the tissue under the surface bruises on the right side of her abdomen.
I obtained microscopic sections from almost all of the injuries to get a better idea of the time frame when these injuries occurred. I determined it was recent hemorrhaging, with no evidence of healing. I did not see any evidence of an old injury that recently decided to open up, which means the injuries had to have happened within minutes or hours, not days. With the
exception of one injury to the abdomen, all of the injuries were recent.
I collected 280 cc’s of blood on the abdomen, noted fresh trauma to the intestines, stomach, colon, pelvic area, nto only bruising, but tearing to the pelvis between the left ovary and the pelvic wall.
The injuries were in more than one place so that one trauma could not have caused all of them, in my medical experience.
Exhibit 33-A photo of the amount of blood collected from Kelsey’s abdomen, blood that probably caused Kelsey’s stomach to look bloated at the hospital.
Blood is not normal in the abdomen especially that much in a young child.
After I removed the blood, I examined the organs, and noticed bruising and tearing to the tissue that holds the intestines to the back of the abdomen, the stomach to the intestines and the pancreas. The impact to the abdomen pushed the tissues together that bruised and tore the tissue through her abdomen area. There was significant trauma to the pelvic area between the vagina, the uterus and the rectum.
I cannot explain that one blow could cause all of those injuries and certainly not a fall, because the bruising would be more spread out throughout the entire region.
Kelsey’s brain was swollen. The bruises to her head could be caused when the head was hit against something, like the floor or a wall, could be caused from the same injury as the abdomen, if it forced her body against something hard.
Based on the information available to me I determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the abdomen.
Blood loss would push a person into a state of shock, but I cannot say exactly how long it took her to go into shock, if her heart rate was increased and depending on how long fast she bled, I have no evidence that this bleeding had any time to heal. Hours would be generous.
The manner of death in my opinion was non-accidental, localized in more than one location, externally and internally, not from a fall or seizure or attempts to resuscitate.
Kelsey Briggs died at the hand of another. I ruled it a homicide.
Cross Examination-Steve Huddleston
Would you agree dating blunt force trauma is difficult?
Yes, it can be.
You say it appeared recent. Let’s talk about the bruising to her rectum and colon.
Exhibit 165-This is a picture of Kelsey’s anal region, you can see the discoloration around the anal tissue.
But that’s it, just bruising and discoloration?
Inside there were tears.
When we met months ago you told me something was inserted into this child’s rectum?
I don’t remember saying that. I remember saying I have uncertainty as to how the injury occurred, insertion in rectum is a possibility. But I am not
medically certain that was the only way those injuries could be caused.
Could it have been the size of a man’s penis?
Did you observe any semen in the area?
Are you aware, 6 months later Mr. Smothermon exhumed Kelsey’s body?
And that Dr. Dean Hawley did a second autopsy on the body on April 29, 2006?
Do you know why Smothermon was unhappy with your autopsy?
I believe that would be a question for Mr. Smothermon.
Did Smothermon contact you about the second autopsy?
Were you present for the second autopsy?
Do you know why you were not present?
Do you feel it was important for you to be there to explain your findings?
You should ask Mr. Smothermon that.
After your autopsy, were you aware Smothermon charged Michael Proter with murder?
Are you aware he was accused of causing that trauma?
That’s the D.A.’s job to investigate who caused the trauma. I present my findings and the court decides what to do with my report.
Dr. Hawley says she died from forcible sexual assault based on your autopsy pictures, do you agree?
I was not present for his autopsy, so I cannot form an opinion on his findings.
Dr. Hawley says the anal bruises and internal injuries were caused from the back to the front. Do you agree?
I don’t know how they occurred, I don’t know if they came from the back or the front, I just do not believe they were from falling.
Dr. Hawley says the injuries came from the back, based on your autopsy pictures?
I’m not comfortable saying the only way this could have been caused is sexual assault.
Do you find it odd Hawley testified against Porter and you are called to testify against my client?
I was subpoenaed and I am here.
Is this odd?
I am new to this state, so I don’t know the procedures.
Is this the first time this has happened in one of your cases?
In my experience.
Could the bruises have come out of a struggle?
Yes, it could.
Mr. Porter weighed 270 at the time, with a 33 month old child, if he was sexually assaulting her, holding her down, is it possible those bruises are consistent with that?
Could be, but I don’t know. They could be from holding her down or from
The contusion on the head, could that be caused when she hit it on the floor?
How about when he put her on the kitchen counter to assault her?
There are 4 areas of contusion and unless it was an irregular surface that is not likely.
Is it possible?
Yes it is possible.
Why was there no bleeding by the mouth?
She could have swallowed the blood.
Could it have been washed off?
If the child is screaming, being sexually assaulted, if a man closed her mouth to mask the scream is it possible to cause the injury to her mouth?
There is no bruising to her upper lip, so that would not match.
But is it possible?
Does possible mean to a reasonable degree of medical certainty?
Is it true you usually do not testify in preliminary hearings?
That is true.
Is it true that the DA’s office submits a certified report of the autopsy to the court file instead?
Break for lunch 1:30 pm
Michael Lee Porter Testimony-Richard Smothermon D.A.
I am Raye Dawn Smith’s ex-husband. We married on April 18th, 2005. Kelsey was my step-daughter.
Mr. Porter you were originally charged in this case correct?
Yes, with murder and sexual abuse.
You know I believe you murdered her and sexually abused her.
I know that is your opinion.
You were aware of all the evidence against you when you pleaded in this case. Why did you plea?
I made a promise I would make a plea if I ever was charged with the crime I committed and that’s enabling.
I still believe you to be guilty. Why are you here?
There’s a lot of truth that needs to be told.
You’re not getting any promises, and don’t expect anything in exchange for your testimony. You will be in prison for 80% of your 30 year sentence. Yes, I know. I don’t expect anything in exchange for my testimony.
Raye did not cry during the entire testimony. She stared at him.
So why are you here?
I’m here because I witnessed several instances where Raye Dawn abused Kelsey. The first was in January of 2005. Raye Dawn brought Kelsey over to my house in Shawnee, my daughter Whitney was there, Raye Dawn was in the bathroom and she started yelling at Kelsey because there were toys all over. Abut 10 seconds later I saw her holding Kelsey by her arm, and swatting her about 10 times.
In July of 2005, once we were married, I was cooking outside, and the kids were in the playroom. Raye Dawn was sitting in my chair and Kelsey was running back and forth from the play room to the living room. Raye Dawn stood up and said, “Come here Kelsey. Come here.” I heard a door slam. 20 or 30 seconds later I heard crying, but I could not find Raye Dawn. Then I realized the crying was coming from the bedroom. I opened the door to the bedroom and heard her say, “Don’t you ever do that.” She had her leg over Kelsey, holding her down. I watched her hit Kelsey twice with a closed fist.
The Sunday before Kelsey was killed, we were having a garage sale that weekend. Raye Dawn’s brother and his wife came over. When Raye pulled up in the truck, I saw her jerk Kelsey out of the truck, drag her up the steps to the house and throw her in the chair.
What did you do?
I asked her what happened, what was going on? She told me, judge I have to use a curse word, may I? “She’s being a little f***ing brat.”
Why didn’t you tell anyone?
I was protecting my wife.
Do you believe you were responsible for Kelsey’s death?
Do you believe Raye Dawn has culpability in Kelsey’s death?
I know she does, you’re asking me, she’s responsible.
So let’s go back to the bedroom incident what did you do, did you try to stop her from hitting Kelsey?
I walked in and said, judge I have to use another curse word, “I said, get the f** away from her.” I grabbed Kelsey and carried her down the hallway. Raye Dawn followed me. I told her if she did it again, she was gone. She said, if I leave I’m taking Kelsey, “All I have to do is blame everything on you.” I threw the keys at her and they hit her in the head.
So what happened October 11, 2005?
I got up at 7:30, went to wake up Whitney, helped her pick up her clothes, I didn’t take a shower that morning, I carried Kelsey down the stairs to our bedroom, because Kelsey didn’t like the stairs. I took Whitney to school and got to work around 8:30. I talked to Raye Dawn several times that day and knew Jean Bonner was running later. I left work around 2:45. When I walked into the bedroom door, Kelsey was on her back in the middle of the bed and Raye was closest to the door. When I knelt down by the bed, Raye’s eyes popped open and I said you guys go back to sleep I’ll go pick up Whitney.
But she said, no I’ll do it and took me downstairs to show me the turtle Kelsey was playing with.
Did you think that was odd?
At the time no, but now I do. She was trying to get me out of the bedroom. The turtle was not there and then the phone rang. It was my friend Wendell calling to tell me he would not be at work the next week because he had jury duty. As she was pulling away she said, “Take care of my baby.”
And that’s the only time she’s ever said that to you?
So what did you do next?
I was expecting Michael Taber any minute, he was supposed to be coming over to pick up a set of tires I was selling him. So I went out side to the garage, opened the garage door, because I was going to clean them and then decided they were really dirty and had been sitting a long time, so he could clean them himself if he wanted them. So I went upstairs to round up some laundry, I knew from the morning that Whitney’s basket was full, I cleaned off the kitchen counter, made some water.
Porter choked up at this point.
Then it struck me how quiet the house was, I was not used to this house yet because we had just moved in. So I had to walk around the sofa to turn on the television. That’s when I heard the noise coming from the bedroom. That noise has gotten a lot of criticism. I don’t know if it was an exhale, a guttural sound, but I know it was not natural. I ran into the bedroom and saw she was blue and was not breathing. I tried to resuscitate her by saying Kelsey, what’s wrong? What’s wrong? I went into the kitchen and called Gayla.
Why not 911?
I can’t say why I did what I did but until you’re holding a dead baby in your arms it’s hard to explain why you do what you do. I told her something was wrong. She told me to call 911, so I did. I was trying to talk to 911, while I put her on the kitchen island, and was talking to her, and the dispatcher trying to explain that Kelsey would not wake up. I have minimal CPR skills but I tried to give her a couple of breaths, it did not work. There was a pull-up sitting on the counter. And I didn’t want anyone to see her like that, so I put it on her, I would have not wanted someone to see my own daughter like that. And we went outside. Michael Taber pulled up to get the tires. Gayla pulled up and took Kelsey.
For 9 months, DHS, everyone said Kelsey was being abused. Correct?
You both knew she was being abused and did nothing to stop it.
Cross Examination-Steve Huddleston
The D.A. just told you he does not believe you, so basically he just allowed you to sit up here and lie.
Porter-Is that a question? I guess that’s correct.
So you and my client dated from October 2004 until you got married in April 2005?
So after six months of dating you married Raye Dawn?
How old was your daughter?
Would it be fair to say in October of 2004 your finances were not great?
What did you do for a living?
I ran my family business from the date of my mother’s death to the day of my incarceration.
Would you say you were a good businessman?
In hindsight, no.
How many employees do you have?
12-15, no one else in the family wanted to take over the company so I had to.
How much was your house payment?
In October of 2004 you were about to lose your house?
I’m not sure how far along the proceedings were.
Mr. Porter, the petition for foreclosure of mortgage here is dated April 29, 2005.
If that’s what you say it says.
Why would a man with two children, who knows he’s going to lose his home, why would you want to marry a woman, a single mother with a daughter of her own to support?
It was not sensible, because I loved her I guess.
You didn't tell her your house was in foreclosure?
Yes I did.
Yes, she knew.
You never took her around to other houses saying those are the houses you would buy once you put renters in the house that you currently lived in?
That's what we had to tell her mother so we could get the house on the hill.
What does the house on the hill look like?
It's a brick home, 4 bedroom.
The only reason you married my client is because you thought she had money?
No, that's not the reason and she was a willing participant in the marriage.
You're telling me she would have married you knowing you were about to lose your house?
Okay, January 2005, the first abuse you say my client swatted Kelsey 10 times. But on January 29, 2005 when Raye Dawn was being investigated for child abuse you wrote this letter saying, “I can say with a clear conscience that Raye Dawn is the opposite of an unfit mother.”
Why would you say that?
I wanted to support her.
But you saw Raye Dawn abuse Kelesy?
I saw her spank her excessively and thought it was an isolated incident.
Did you testify in the June 15, 2005 hearing, under oath before Judge Key?
When asked do you think Raye Dawn is a fit parent you said absolutely?
I probably did.
On August 19, 2005 do you remember that day?
If it was the car accident, I remember it.
Actually that was the day you told DHS a lamp was pulled down on Kelsey’s head, is that what happened?
I believe that’s what happened, yes.
What do you mean, you believe?
That’s what I inferred. Kelsey was in her bedroom, I heard her cry, and I walked in her bedroom and she was holding an old light bulb she said she found under the bed and she tried to put it on the lamp and it fell off of the table.
Raye Dawn was not home?
No, Raye Dawn was not home.
How about April 29th, 2005? DHS reported an a knot on Kelsey’s nose, you told them Whitney elbowed her?
That’s what I believed to be the case. That’s what Raye Dawn and my daughter told me happened.
You told DHS you walked in and saw Whitney’s arm over Kelsey’s face?
That’s probably what I told them but I said a lot of things to cover up for her.
Okay, what do you say happened on October 11, 2005? You came home, Raye Dawn left, isn’t this where the nightmare started for you? This is where you started sexually abusing her?
That’s absolutely not correct.
She started struggling?
Absolutely not correct.
She started screaming and you held her down and covered her mouth?
Absolutely not correct.
Dr. Hawley says Kelsey was sexually assaulted?
That’s his opinion.
Are you familiar with this document?
Yes, it’s the felony information and the amended felony information.
The first one says murder in the first degree. Then there is an amended information that says murder or child abuse and child sexual abuse.
You went to preliminary hearing right before the amended charge correct?
Actually it was right after the amended charge.
So 5 days before you were set for trial you were charged with this little girl’s murder?
5 days before a jury would hear your case you pleaded this case?
In the OSBI interviews you told them you were circling the living room with Kelsey in your arms, why?
I don’t know why, until you have a child in your arms, in that condition you don’t know what you’d do.
That’s because you were trying to figure out what to do?
That’s not true.
Because I’ve never sexually assaulted a child to death you’re right I don’t know what that would be like?
Nor have I.
Why didn’t you call 911 first?
I guess I didn’t want to believe how bad it was. It was a mistake in hindsight.
You put her on the kitchen counter?
Actually it was the island.
You put her up there to clean her up didn’t you?
When OSBI went back into the house the water was running. My client was not home. Did you pass out at the hospital?
You don’t know?
I woke up and I was in the hospital bed, I don’t know exactly what happened.
Were you faking it?
You were trying to show how distraught you were you crawled around on the hospital floor?
I fell to the floor when I found out she was dead.
But you went back to Janet Gragg’s house and had a good meal?
I ate a little bit.
How about two days later when you faked a suicide?
I didn’t do that.
You told the people in the room you took too many aspirin?
My two sisters were in the room and they saw me take some aspirin. When I walked outside I started to feel very woozy and they put me in the car.
Didn’t they start to drive you to the hospital and then they turned around?
I don’t remember I was half asleep.
Didn’t you almost pass out during your OSBI interview?
I started having a hard time breathing and they got me a glass of water but I don’t think I almost passed out.
After you faked a suicide?
I didn’t fake a suicide.
Did it dawn on you that OSBI was questioning you about the murder of Kelsey?
I felt like they were saying my ex-wife did it actually.
So when OSBI started asking about Raye Dawn beating Kelsey you said, “No, like I say, I never seen Raye Dawn whip her.”
Is that true?
I said a lot of things to cover up for her.
When they asked “did she ever lose her temper?” you said no, “Would she ever beat Kelsey until she died?” No, she would never do it. So who would that leave? She would never do it? “It’s not possible Raye Dawn would hurt Kelsey?” No, no, not possible. “Raye Dawn couldn’t beat her until she’s dead?” Never. Never. “Has she ever lost control of Kelsey?” No. OSBI asked you over and over and you never said anything about it.
I would have rather believed anything than that my ex-wife killed her.
You never thought to tell them, when they were questioning you for murder that she did it, that she abused her all of those times? What normal person in that situation wasn’t going to tell about his abuse?
Most normal people probably would, but I didn’t.
That’s because you never saw Raye Dawn hurt Kelsey, right?
I already told you about three instances.
After you were charged with this crime did you meet Kathie Briggs?
In January of 2006.
At Shirica’s apartment.
How was that, was it a friendly visit?
As cordial as we could be.
Isn’t it true the Briggs don’t like my client?
I don’t know that first hand, just what my wife told me they think.
You met with Kathie to get the heat off of you to my client?
You wanted to stay under the radar?
Is this a summary of your guilty plea? Why didn’t you list all three incidents?
Because my lawyer told me the guilty plea should be my worst incident. That’s the worst one.
You had nothing to do with the death of this child?
You agreed to take 30 years in prison? No one in this room. It’s ludicrous, really that someone would take 30 years for enabling, but that’s not really what you did?
I made a promise and I intended to keep it. And I did. I would never say I did something I didn’t do.
But you already told us you lied under oath?
I did lie a lot for my ex-wife.
This is just another example?
No, I’m through lying for her.
You said you saw my client abuse her daughter? But you left your own kids alone with her?
After July I tried not to.
No one in this room would do that, anyone in their right mind would take their kids who they love away from her.
After July did things change with you and Raye Dawn?
Everything changed, we fought a lot.
It’s so difficult to believe you because you’ve admitted to lying before?
All I can do is tell you the truth Richard and I’m here doing it.
That foreclosure, she knew about it?
Yes, she knew, I even think she was served, it sat on the table.
So you were deceptive to Gayla to get the house in Meeker?
So what happened with the knot on Kelsey’s nose?
I came in the room and Raye Dawn told me Whitney elbowed her.
We don’t really know what happened with the nose, because you two tell different stories. We don’t really know what happened October 11th, only you and you know. No one else.
Dr. Carl Griffin Testimony
Dr. Griffin is an emergency room doctor at Unity Health Center with 15 years experience.
Dr. Griffin treated Kelsey in the early evening on January 10th, 2005. Raye Dawn told the doctor Kelsey had crawled over the top of the crib and hurt her shoulder early Saturday morning. The doctor said there was a bruise and a deformity (a bump up and down) on Kelsey’s collarbone. It’s a fairly common broken bone so I ordered an x-ray. She had a broken collarbone on the right side. I did not take her diaper off but I did examine her chest. I remember she had a dime sized bruise on her forehead or her cheek, there was nothing alarming, no need to report anything to authorities.
Not everyone rushes their children to the doctor, especially in rural Oklahoma, so the timing of Kelsey’s visit was not questionable to me.
On January 14th, Kelsey came back to the ER. Her step-mother Ashley Briggs told me that when she and her husband received the child and went to change her clothes she found a lot of bruises and wanted her evaluated for possible abuse. Her exam showed possible bruises and abrasions all over her face, thorax, back, buttocks, bruises that were not there on the 10th. She had a diaper rash, as well.
The doctor showed pictures of these bruises explaining some were more than 48 hours old, and they were at various stages of healing. He says they are not likely associated with the fall, as they are on both sides of her body.
Ashley and Lance were both in the room upon Kelsey’s physical examination. I was concerned she had been struck or abused in some fashion, not consistent with a clavicle injury. I called DHS, x-rayed her clavicle again, because any second visit to the ER in a short period of time is always a red flag.
Cross Examination-Tim Henderson
Is it true Raye Dawn appeared to be concerned about her daughter when she brought her in for the broken collarbone?
And at that time you did not see any bruises?
There weren’t any abnormal bruises I noticed. Abnormal in that kids play and
often come in with bruises, bruises are not usually abnormal in a child.
Mr. Griffin, do you watch OU football?
Did you see the game, or at least the replays where Adrian Peterson dove into the end zone and broke his collarbone?
He just fell on it, no one hit him?
So you can break your collarbone by just falling on it?
Yes, it’s the most commonly broken bone in the body.
On January 10th, you were not aware of any previous injuries?
And Raye Dawn brought her in?
You didn’t suspect abuse?
The next time you brought her in she was brought in by Lance and Ashley and she had suspicious bruises?
Did you recognize Kelsey immediately when she came in?
Is it possible the bruises could have been only a 4 hours old?
Did you know she was at a birthday party for a couple of hours before she came to the ER?
No, I didn’t know that.
You said some of the bruises were a half of a centimeter?
If that’s what’s in my report.
Did you look at Ashley Briggs fingernails when she came in?
Did Kelsey have a blood disorder?
I don’t know.
Don’t some kids bruise easier than others?
Kelli Koons, a doctor at your hospital, do you know her?
I know of her.
Did you know Dr. Koons sent Kelsey to a hematologist?
Did you know she reported Kelsey bruises easier than other children?
If she’s just learning to walk and bumps up against something could that cause a bruise?
You can only make gross estimations on the ages of bruises, are you aware of this study that says you bruises cannot be accurately aged by studying color?
I am not aware of that study.
So when you saw these bruises there is no scientific knowledge of how old they are?
Not their exact age.
Do you make any medical opinion about abuse?
That’s not my specialty. I just reported suspected abuse and let the authorities investigate. I wasn’t there, I didn’t see who did it or how it happened. All I can do is report it.
The finding of child abuse is not part of the medical profession?
Not my job, some other people have that specialty.
Do you know Dr. Block out of Tulsa?
I’ve heard of him.
Are you aware that he does specialize in child abuse and that there are doctors who do specialize in the diagnosing of child abuse and they are actually making it a sub specialty within the medical profession?
Did you see anything that would lead you to believe she had a bleeding disorder?
Are you aware the hemoglobin test came back negative? There are a number of bruises greater than ½ centimeter in size correct?
And it was your job to call DHS?
Yes, we report possible abuse because we don’t have the time or the resources to investigate it ourselves.
Mildred Fowler Testimony
Mildred is Raye Dawn’s grandmother. She says between January 10th and 14th, she took care of Kelsey on Monday and Tuesday. She did not have any bruises besides a small one on her face on the same side as the collarbone.
July 11, 2007
Ashley Gober Testimony
Ashley was Kelsey’s step-mother and used to be married to Lance. She saw Kelsey regularly, even when Lance was on his tour of duty for the military.
I did not notice anything out of the ordinary until January 14, 2005. Kathie called us to tell us Raye Dawn told her when she dropped her off that Kelsey had a broken collarbone and that she had fallen out of her crib and hit a slide.
That night from 6:45 to 7:30 we were at Kathie’s house for a birthday party. At 8 we went to my mom’s house to meet my brother and his wife who were in town from Hawaii.
State shows pictures of the 29 bruises and abrasions on Kelsey’s back, buttocks and thigh.
I took those pictures while Kelsey was in the bathtub.
Because something wasn’t right. When I took Kelsey’s clothes off to give her a bath I noticed them and started crying and called my mom and had her and
Lance come in and look at Kelsey. Then I called Kathie to see if she had noticed the bruises. She had not. So we decided to take her to the ER. Kathie met us there.
Picture of scrape on Kelsey’s elbow.
What happened here?
RD told Kathie she was walking down the hallway and hit it on the wall.
3 Pictures of Kelsey in casts and a knot on her nose.
We called DHS a lot.
Because I thought something wasn’t right, that she was being abused. I told DHS workers.
How did they respond?
At first they were cordial, but by the end it just seemed like they were trying to get my off of the phone.
What happened when you saw Kelsey on August 27, 2005?
She was not the same.
You brought some notes today?
This is my notebook of all contact I had with Kelsey, the dates and times of our pickups, any injuries to Kelsey.
Can I see it?
This looks like you took notes every three or four days and the notes go back to 2004?
I take a lot of notes.
Was Kelsey an active child?
Is there a lot of animosity between your families at the court proceedings?
Yes. There were angry people that a child was being hurt.
There were a lot of bad things said about Raye Dawn by your family?
Not in front of Kelsey.
So do you have any personal knowledge of where Kelsey was before 6pm on the 14th?
How many kids were at the birthday party?
5 or 6.
The boys were 7 or 8, the girls 6. Kelsey was the youngest.
So you never let Kelsey out of your sight?
No, I went with her to play with her, to interact with her.
Even at a family gathering you kept following her around?
Huddleston pulled out a large calendar.
Who was at the party?
Ashley lists about 6 family members.
And you testified you saw some bruises on her backside, and the first thing you did was get out your camera and take pictures?
Between 2004 and 2005 you’ve taken all of these notes, you’ve never seen anything like this, visitation is going back and forth between families and the first thing you do is take the photo? Why?
It was very unusual.
Why is the picture shiny?
She was in the bathtub.
Why would you do that?
The bruises were out of place.
Were you trying to build a custody case against my client?
No, the bruises were not normal.
You run and get your camera? You don’t find that unusual?
Why did Kathie come to the ER?
She felt she needed to be there.
Your mom didn’t go? Why?
My brother and sister in law just got into town, I guess.
That’s more important than her grand-daughters health?
When did you give that photo to the Meeker police?
I did not. Kathie may have, I had to work the next day. They took their
Why didn’t you give the police the pictures?
I’m not sure.
Were you present when Raye Dawn came up at the hospital? Wasn’t Kathie pushing this case on Raye Dawn?
I don’t remember that.
On January 16th, did you refuse to give Kelsey back to Raye Dawn?
On January 17th, the police returned her to Raye Dawn and cleared Raye Dawn?
January 24th, Kathie filed a guardianship to take Kelsey away and for two weeks Raye could not see her?
On March 24th, Kathie filed a complaint to DHS for bruises and for a bump on her nose. A small bump on her nose, that Raye Dawn says happened when she fell on the kitchen floor, why did you take her to the ER?
Because Kathie thought her nose might be broken.
It wasn’t until March 11th that Raye had unsupervised visits until then she only had supervised visits, and less than two weeks later, another complaint was filed?
April 4th, another complaint was filed with DHS, that’s 9 days later. Were you present at on April 28th at Kathie’s house?
No I was at work.
Do you know DHS investigated the nose?
Raye Dawn told them Whitney elbowed her.
And did you know Whitney told DHS that’s probably what happened?
In March, Kelsey’s hair started to fall out. She was going back and forth between families all of the time. Do you think that was difficult on Kelsey?
I’m sure it was.
Was Kelsey caught in the middle?
On April 14th Kelsey went to the zoo and Raye Dawn was not there correct?
On April 18th she got married?
I believe so.
What was Kelsey’s condition while you had her during that time between April 14th and the 25th? Was she crawling?
She was not able to fully stand up.
Did you or Kathie ever take her to the ER?
Why didn’t you take her to the ER?
I didn’t have custody.
Did you follow my client?
Were you ever watching my client?
Did you ever call the babysitter about my client?
To check on Kelsey.
In August of 2005, you went to court to request a visit?
The night before you were scheduled to see her, you learned Kelsey was in a car wreck?
Actually that morning.
Did Raye Dawn call to reschedule?
On August 23rd you saw Kelsey?
After the visit you called DHS?
Did you tell them about the car wreck?
And a complaint came to Pott. County child welfare a few days later?
I don’t know.
And you took pictures of Kelsey that last day you saw her correct?
And you turned over those pictures to the media?
Not me, maybe the Briggs did.
Did they ever tell the media Kelsey was in a car wreck?
I don’t know.
After the visit on the 23rd, what did you notice?
Bruises to her face.
Why did you call DHS?
I was concerned for Kelsey’s well being.
When did the relationship with Raye Dawn change?
In August of 2004, because Lance was deployed.
Did the defendant ever lie about Kelsey being Lance’s?
Not to me.
Why did you refuse to give Kelsey back to Raye Dawn after the collarbone and the bruises?
We were concerned for her safety.
Why were you concerned?
I’m not sure what would have happened.
Why did you call DHS?
I called DHS if I had any worries or concerns.
So it’s fair to say these are not complaints?
During the time of animosity between the families did you believe Kelsey was being abused and reporting it?
We now know Kelsey died from abuse on October 11, 2005?
So you were right?
Kathie Briggs Testimony
Kathie is Lance’s mother and Kelsey’s paternal grandmother.
Raye Dawn and Lance were not married when Kelsey was born. They divorced in July of 2002. I found out Raye Dawn was pregnant after the divorce and was told it was not his, so we were not expecting a grandchild. Then I heard rumors it could be.
When Kelsey was born, did you get to be the grandmother?
No. We did a paternity test immediately. Kelsey was three months old when we found out she was ours. When Kelsey was two months old, Raye Dawn called and wanted to introduce us to her. She brought her over to the house. I saw her again when she brought Kelsey in for to get her pictures taken at Sears, where I was the manager. Once the paternity test confirmed Lance was the father, he was allowed to see her for 4 hours every other Saturday for
three months and we all shared that 4 hours. We asked for more time, but Raye Dawn did not allow it.
How did you feel about Raye Dawn?
I adored Raye Dawn. I’ve known her since she was a little girl, I was her pom coach; I did her hair. I loved Raye Dawn like she was a member of our family.
Our relationship changed when Lance went to Iraq in August of 2004 and I wanted to continue seeing Kelsey but I wanted it in writing and she did not want to do that. So I hired an attorney to get it in court. The judge granted me visitation in my son’s absence.
And so you took care of Kelsey quite often up until this point?
Yes, I kept her a lot until she wanted it in writing and then something changed and Raye Dawn told me she did not want to drop Kelsey off and pick her up at our homes, she wanted to do it at the convenience store.
And how did that go?
Fine, except one time she walked up and set Kelsey on the sidewalk and walked away.
Okay in January, let’s talk about the broken collarbone?
The weekend before I was supposed to have Kelsey but Raye Dawn never showed up. I called her relatives and the next weekend she did. On January 14th, Raye Dawn told me she fell out of the bed and broke her collarbone.
Did you see any bruises?
It was dark and Raye Dawn just told me she had a brace on. I got Kelsey home and noticed bruises on her face. Lance was home on leave and we were having a birthday party so she stayed at our house for about 2 hours until 7:45pm.
Did you change Kelsey’s diaper during that time?
No, I was taking care of the birthday party so no one changed her.
Did you notice anything different?
We were concerned her demeanor had changed. Lance called Raye Dawn and asked why they were not notified about the collarbone. Raye Dawn did not think it was a big deal, so she didn’t call us.
Once Lance and Ashley left, then what happened?
Ashley called crying saying she had bruises on her back.
So where was Raye Dawn living at the time?
Why did Lance and Ashley take her to the Shawnee hospital?
That’s where they lived.
Why did you go to the ER?
I wanted to see what it was.
What did you think?
I was extremely concerned and shocked. I couldn’t believe what kind of instrument could have been used to cause those marks.
Did you tell police any name to look at in their investigation?
One police officer came out and I told them Raye Dawns name, just because she’s the mother.
What did Officer Matt Byers tell you?
He asked if I was prepared to raise a grandchild and I told them I never intended to but would if I had to.
Did you call DHS?
No, Carl Leabo, the chief of police in Meeker told us he called.
You did not want to give Kelsey back to Raye Dawn?
No, but I did not have a court order, so I had to. On January 24, 2005 we showed Judge Key the pictures of the bruises and got an emergency guardianship. I immediately went to pick Kelsey up from the daycare Raye Dawn had her at.
And how did that go?
The daycare provider started yelling at me, asking why I was taking Kelsey.
Did you yell back?
It was heated, but I would not consider it yelling.
Did you allow Raye Dawn to see Kelsey at any time during the next two weeks?
Yes, she called and wanted to see her, so I called my lawyer and he said as long as it was at my house. So Raye Dawn and her family came over to see Kelsey at my house.
So you had sole custody of Kelsey from January 24th through February 11th?
Did Raye Dawn ask to see her more?
On February 11th court date, Judge Key allowed supervised visitation for Raye Dawn, what was that arrangement?
She had her Friday through Monday as long as Mildred Fowler or Gayla was present.
Was DHS involved in that decision?
So for one month, nothing was out of the ordinary?
On March 11th another hearing what happened?
Raye Dawn got unsupervised visitation from Wednesday at noon until Thursday
at noon and from Friday at 6pm until Monday at noon.
How many hours is that?
90 hours a week for Raye Dawn.
That’s more hours than you had her?
But there was a stipulation?
Yes, she could not be with Michael Porter during those visits.
Why? Was that your request?
Yes, I just had concerns and wanted to narrow it down if something else happened, I would know where it was coming from.
So you wanted this arrangement to work?
Yes. I left Kelsey with Raye Dawn that day, even a few hours early so we would not have to meet later that day.
The very next time you got Kelsey March 14th, what did you find?
She had a bruise on her head. Raye Dawn said Kelsey fell off a four wheeler or something.
What did you do?
I just wrote it down.
Did she get any bruises with you?
No. She had one dog bite and one cat scratch on her face, that’s it.
Was Kelsey playful with you, a normal 2 year old?
Yes, I actually screwed a cabinet to the wall and put locks on all of my
cabinets because she was so curious.
March 21st, what happened?
I got Kelsey and her eye was matted and red. Raye Dawn said she got blood on her eye from the scrape on her hand. The next morning I took her to the doctor because she said her throat hurt. The doctor said she was sick with a sore throat and an eye infection.
Did you call DHS?
Were you concerned Raye Dawn had not taken her to the doctor?
No, I was not concerned it was over the weekend and she was just sick, I didn’t think it was a big deal.
How about March 24th?
Her nose was blue on the bridge. Raye Dawn said she had fallen in the kitchen. But her nose kept getting more swollen all day. I took her to the ER in case it was broken.
Why did you take her to the ER?
Kelsey just kept saying, “my nose, my nose” I would have taken my own kids.
Raye Dawn told you she fell in the kitchen while they were running?
Yes, but nothing was broken.
You called DHS?
No, the doctor came in the room and told us he had called DHS and the caseworker would be following up with us in the morning.
Did you call DHS ever for this injury?
I left a message with DHS worker Yolanda Hunter, the woman I had talked with about Raye Dawn’s treatment plan, the next morning. Kristal Johnson called back and asked to come over and take a picture.
March 31st what did you see on Kelsey?
She had two bruises on her leg and two on her back in the middle.
Did you report it to DHS?
No, I just recorded it.
She had something wrong with her face, I don’t have specific notes about it. I remember it because Ashley made a referral to DHS because Lance was home and they would have Kelsey all week for visitation and she wanted DHS to know
about the injury.
When Raye Dawn is picking up Kelsey is she seeing bruises?
Just the cat scratch and the dog bite.
Okay, so Lance and Ashley had Kelsey until April 11th?
Yes, Raye had missed her weekend visit so she called me and wanted to make it up, so I called DHS and Kristal did not seem interested, so I decided to allow her to make up the days.
So Raye Dawn has her from the 12th through the 14th of April?
And she brought her back with a sprained ankle?
Yes, she had a doctor’s note saying it was it was a sprained ankle. Ashley called DHS and they told her to keep her over night and not give her back. So we gave her back on the 15th.
Raye Dawn told you she tripped and fell on her flip flops?
Yes, at the zoo.
Have you ever seen those shoes?
Did you buy them for her?
On the 14th what did the injury seem like?
It seemed like a normal sprained ankle.
But she wouldn’t walk?
No it was as if she was a toddler learning to walk, she wouldn’t walk around the room, she would just prop herself up on the couch or the table.
When you gave Kelsey back to Raye Dawn did she have some kind of mark on her?
Yes, she had a bite mark, and Raye asked me if someone in my family had bitten her, like one of my grand kids. And I said I didn’t think so. But when I asked Kelsey who bit her she said, “Kelsey did it.”
On the 19th when you got her back again, what happened?
We were at Walmart and she tried to walk, because she didn’t want to get in the cart and she took four steps and said “can’t”. On the 20th I talked to a school nurse and a physical education teacher about the ankle and they said it was not unusual; she had only had the sprained ankle less than a week.
Between 5pm on the 18th and 4pm on the 21st was there anything that happened to Kelsey in your care that could have caused two broken bones?
She didn’t fall in a hole?
On the 25th Yolanda hunter called and told me Kelsey was at DHS because of her legs. And I said you mean her ankle? And she said no, both of her legs. And that was the first time I heard about leg injuries. On the 26th Raye Dawn dropped her off with me and has had a pink and a green cast on and two broken legs.
So when Raye Dawn found out both of her legs were broken she never asked you if anything had happened during your visit with her?
On the 28th at noon, you got her back and something else was wrong?
Yes, she had what I call a pump knot on her nose. It was puffy, very puffy. Raye Dawn said Kelsey had been elbowed by her stepsister in the night.
Did you ask Kelsey what happened to her nose?
Per the court order the last weekend of the month, Kelsey spent with us, but Raye Dawn’s great grandmother died that weekend and I told her she could take Kelsey to the services if she wanted to.
On the 28th I talked to a friend who works at a foot place and she told me I should get Kelsey looked at for growth plate problems, and suggested I get a second opinion with Dr. Sullivan in Oklahoma City. Her office actually made the appointment. So I called Raye Dawn and told her I thought she should take her to the appointment, and she told me she didn’t want to take her to Oklahoma City because if this doctor suspects abuse, he might take her into custody in Oklahoma County. I told her the doctors said it was an accident and didn’t think that would even be an option. Monday was her great grandmother’s service and we could not get the appointment changed, so I told Raye Dawn I would take her instead. So Kelsey went to the lunch before the funeral and then I picked her up and took her to Oklahoma City.
And what did you expect Dr. Sullivan would say?
I never suspected someone would bruise or break two of Kelsey’s legs.
What did you do when he told you it was abuse?
I was nauseous. I called Lance and told him what the doctor said and told DHS that the doctors suspected the legs were abuse. David Burgess, the DHS supervisor, called me the next morning and told me they may have to take Kelsey in to DHS custody. So I called Raye Dawn and told her that she’s going into DHS custody.
How did that make you feel?
I was scared she would be going into a foster home with strangers. I got some of dolls together so she would have something.
Then the next morning what did you find out?
She had been placed with Gayla. And I realized Raye Dawn had begun pointing
the finger at me saying I had abused Kelsey, to DHS.
So then you go to court in May?
For the show cause hearing.
And what is the visitation schedule?
Gayla has her full time and each side gets visits 4 hours a week at DHS. Sometimes we did one hour at a time, back to back.
How is your relationship with Raye Dawn now?
I don’t believe we’ve spoken to each other since May.
But how did you think all of this would work out?
I was very confident the judge would come to the conclusion that I didn’t
do anything wrong, especially because DHS did not remove any of my other grandkids who were living in my house at the time.
But that’s not what happened?
You went back to court on June 15th?
Yes, and Kelsey went home with Raye Dawn.
So on that day the judge dissolved the guardianship and adjudicated her deprived?
Basically she went home with her mom?
So from June 15th, 2005 through October 11, 2005 you were basically left out of the equation?
On August 27th DHS arranged for Ashley to have a 5 hour visit and you saw her at that time?
Yes, we were all allowed to see her.
And what did you see?
She had lost weight, she had bruises on her face, retinal eye hemorrhaging, she looked like she had just lost her spirit.
Was any offer made for you to see Kelsey again?
And you opted not to go to the one hour visit with Ashley at DHS correct?
Yes, because of some of the things DHS had previously written about me during the supervised visits at DHS that were not true. And I wanted Ashley to have that hour to bond with Kelsey.
So you saw her for three hours on the 27th and that’s the last time you saw her?
How did you find out she died?
A friend from the beauty shop called and told me Kelsey was at the hospital and may have had a seizure. So I called the CASA worker and she told me that she believed Kelsey had had a seizure. Then she called back and told me Kelsey didn’t make it.
Did you go to the hospital?
No. I knew we were not welcome. My mother and father in law went to the hospital but they were told to leave.
So you never saw her between August 27th and her funeral?
We didn’t have an open casket so I never saw her again.
Break for lunch until 1:30
So in your testimony you tried to tell me that there were no problems between the Smith and the Briggs family?
On August 15, 2004, the Smith and the Briggs family went to a birthday party, there were no problems.
You’re not saying there was no animosity between the families before January of 2005?
Just typical divorce stuff because Raye and Lance had gotten a divorce.
You have a large family, daughters, grandkids, are you saying no one in your family said bad things about the Smith family?
I have not created any kind of havoc with them.
No animosity? How about the rest of your family?
Not that I’m aware of.
Ashley said there was animosity?
We were a typical divorce type family.
You would agree Raye Dawn and Lance had a rocky marriage?
Lots of situations?
Yes. But I did not have anything against Raye Dawn or her family. I babysat Kelsey all of the time. She stayed at my house over night.
Isn’t it true the whole town of Meeker knew about the problems between your families?
I don’t know what other people say about my family.
Okay, would you agree Raye Dawn loved Kelsey?
I don’t know how she felt.
Did Kelsey love Raye Dawn?
Yes she did.
Raye Dawn’s lip started to quiver at this point.
March 11th you requested Michael Porter not be around during unsupervised visitation, did you know anything about Mr. Porter?
Just his name and that he was Raye Dawn’s boyfriend.
Did you have any concerns about him? That something might be wrong about him being around Kelsey?
You did not file that order because you any concerns about Mr. Porter?
I had a gut feeling there was a problem. But no one had given me any reason to think that it had to be him hurting her.
Did you voice that gut feeling to anyone?
What did you say?
I told her I was concerned Porter could be hurting Kelsey.
I don’t remember the exact date.
You didn’t write that down?
So you’ve recorded every bruise and you did not write that conversation down?
No. I just documented markings on Kelsey.
January 14th, 2005 you and Ashley both made a complaint to the Meeker Police Department?
Actually the doctor called the police and Matt Byers came to the ER and asked us for statements.
Did you change Kelsey’s diaper during the time she was at your house that night?
Is it possible someone could have changed her diaper?
Did Ashley ever leave Kelsey’s side?
She was with her the whole time I was watching.
How many people were in the living room?
More than 20.
Do you have more than 2 rooms in the house?
I’m sure someone had to have gone to the restroom?
So you can’t be sure someone didn’t change her diaper?
We all had contact with Kelsey, no one was alone with Kelsey, and no one changed her diaper.
When you went to the hospital isn’t it true you pushed this case on Raye Dawn?
We told him who the mother was and when it happened.
Do you remember the tone of your statement?
When you found out the Meeker Police Department would not be filing charges you filed for civil guardianship?
After the police department did not charge anyone did you file a complaint against the police department?
You took Kelsey to your family pediatrician correct?
Have you sued her?
Then Raye Dawn started taking her to Dr. Koons, have you sued her?
Has anyone in your family?
Lance sued on Kelsey’s behalf.
Do you agree with the suit?
It’s not my suit.
Do you agree with why your lawyer filed the suit?
On March 21st you said something was wrong with Kelsey’s eye, and you took her to your pediatrician the next day correct? And she was just sick?
So we can scratch that off as an incident correct?
March 24th, the nose, you believe she fell in the kitchen like Raye Dawn said?
I have no reason to believe otherwise.
How about this picture of the bruise on her nose, is that a bruise any child can get?
You thought she had a broken nose?
Yes, she complained about it a lot.
So you took her to the ER? Not the doctor the next day?
Yes, I debated about that but took her to the ER.
And you say the doctor called DHS over this injury?
What information did you give the doctor for him to call?
I figured he saw the previous incidents in her chart.
So a doctor didn’t call DHS over the collarbone a couple of months earlier, but this doctor calls DHS over this bruise? Why would he call over this incident?
Did you testify on June 15th and 16th under oath?
When asked under oath if you made a lot of referrals to DHS. You said I have not made all of those referrals. I’ve only made one or two since January. So which is it Kathie? You’re telling us today that you did not make any referrals yet you testified under oath that you made a lot? Which is it?
My original impression was that every time you call DHS it is a referral. But now I know unless you are calling to report abuse then it is not a referral.
So you called a lot and complained?
I asked questions.
During March of 2005, Kelsey’s hair was falling out?
Do you believe she was under a lot of stress?
Yes I do.
Now we’re in this hostile environment did you say anything bad about the Smith family?
Not in Kelsey’s presence.
You were angry?
I was concerned for Kelsey.
Is it true you don’t like Gayla Smith?
I don’t care for her.
So you say she only got 2 bruises in your care?
Do your other 11 grandchildren get bruises?
Did she get bruises when she was with Ashley and Lance?
Not to my knowledge.
Wasn’t Ashley coming over to your house all of the time?
And she didn’t get any bruises? Ever?
Not that I recall.
On April 4th, why doesn’t Ashley ever remember making that referral?
I don’t know.
Tell me about all of these pictures?
We took a lot of pictures of Kelsey.
Is it true you had three or four people looking over Kelsey when she would leave for Raye Dawn’s house?
That was under advisement of my attorney.
Would you say Kelsey was being examined, looking for everything you could find?
We were advised to examine her.
On April 14th Kelsey was brought to you by Miste and Raye Dawn correct?
Yes. To the ballfield.
You learned that day that she injured herself a the zoo? And you would agree Raye Dawn was not present?
I don’t know.
On April 15th you gave her back to Raye Dawn?
On April 18th you got her back?
So between the 19th, 20th and 21st she was basically crawling under your care and you did not take her to the doctor because some friends told you it was normal?
On April 25th Raye Dawn took Kelsey to Dr. Koons who refers her to Dr. Barrett, are you suing her?
And explain this foot doctor story to me?
Cheryl Watts at the foot clinic explained growth plates to me and I went to
get a second opinion per her recommendation.
Kathie you took two x-rays to Dr. Sullivan is that correct?
Who gave you his diagnosis?
Did you give the doctor her history?
I told him about the other doctor’s opinions.
Did you tell him she was crawling with you?
We discussed her condition.
What did you do with the x-rays?
I kept them.
Why did we have to get them from the civil attorneys?
I turned the over to my civil attorney when he asked for them when Kelsey died.
Did you take the x-rays to police?
Even though the doctor told you they were abuse? You didn’t take them to DHS?
No. That was my copy.
So is it true that you made an allegation against Raye Dawn, that she broke Kelsey’s legs? And she accused you?
I never said Raye Dawn broke Kelsey’s legs, I felt it was either she or Michael Porter but that it happened in that house.
Were you upset when DHS pulled Kelsey out of your home based on these allegations? You were the legal guardians?
Yes, I was upet.
Don’t you think my client probably felt the same way?
She probably did.
In May of 2005 did you or any of your family members follow my client?
I was behind her once and saw that the tag on her car was expired by six months and that she had replaced it with a tag from another vehicle.
So you just happened to be behind her?
I pulled out from my daughter’s house and when we reached the four way stop in Meeker she would not let me pass and would not go through the stop sign. So I called police and reported it.
Did you stalk Raye Dawn?
No, I drove by twice to see if the police had responded to my call before going to the school for a party.
So you called to report my client had an outdated tag.
Have you ever done that before?
No, she committed a crime and it was my civic duty to report that.
Have you ever done it again?
The what do you call it? A pump knot?
Did DHS take pictures?
Were you present?
Yes, they took the pictures at my house.
On April 28th Kelsey was at your house and she started crying uncontrollably for her mommy?
Why was she crying so uncontrollably?
I don’t know.
What were you doing to her?
Nothing, she had two casts on her legs and was probably very uncomfortable.
So you called my client to come see what was wrong and make her stop?
Yes. If she wanted her mother than I wanted her to have her mother. But then when Raye Dawn got to the house Kelsey would not go to her mom and she had stopped crying. So when she left I asked Kelsey why she would not go to her mom and she said I wanted Mommy Ashley.
Those pictures that were taken at Teri’s house, by Ashley, of the nose?
After that Teri made a complaint? Called in a referral? DHS came on the 29th for an investigation yes? They took statements from Michael Porter and Whitney and determined Whitney elbowed Kelsey in the nose?
You testified in June that Kelsey should be returned to Raye Dawn at some point?
I said I would like to see Kelsey returned some day.
Even though Michael Porter lived in the home?
I said I would eventually like to see them reunited someday.
And who should have made that decision? Judge Key. Didn’t you sponsor Sheila Kirk to run against Judge Key?
There were monthly reviews in August, September did you go to any of those reviews?
No. Our guardianship had been dissolved we were told we had not rights because we were the grandparents.
Did you set up the website Kelsey’s Purpose?
Is it true members have harassed and threatened Mildred Fowler?
Not that I’m aware of.
Have you accused Gayla of crimes on the website?
Not that I’m aware of.
Are you aware of some turmoil at Kelsey’s grave?
I’ve heard about that.
That things have been removed from Kelsey’s grave?
Both families have had things removed.
How often do you call Mr. Smothermon?
Have you pushed this case against Raye Dawn?
Has Lance sued CHBS?
That was dropped.
After October 11th, 2005 in January of 2006 you started email conversations with Mr. Porter?
He contacted me.
How many emails?
Less than 90 days after the death of your granddaughter you met with the man who murdered her?
He was only accused, he was not convicted.
Did you shake his hand?
Were you nice to him?
Why would you meet with him?
I had many questions about what happened to my grand daughter.
You mean you wanted to build a case against my client?
We’ve discussed there’s no one else involved what else could there have been to talk about besides Raye Dawn?
I did not talk to him about the day Kelsey died. I asked about several specific incidents.
You did not ask Mr. Porter about the day your granddaughter died?
No I told him I could not change what happened that day and he would have his day in court.
Have you talked with Smothermon about the charges at this point?
The rectal bruises?
And you still met with him?
Yes, I needed to know some things about what happened to my grand daughter.
You posted on Kelsey’s Purpose after Porter went to prison that you were only using him for information. Information on my client?
I asked him for information about DHS and Judge Key.
Were you contacted about the plea agreement reached with Michael Porter?
Yes, we discussed it before he made the deal.
Are you aware no one from the DA’s office contacted my client about the deal?
I don’t know what the DA’s office did.
Ms. Briggs, are you aware that the DA’s office is not in the practice of discussing plea negotiations with the family of another person charged in connection with a case?
I don’t know what the practice is, but that make sense.
He accused you of calling us and pushing this case, correct?
Is it true you have been very vocal in this case?
Because Kelsey can’t speak for herself and I have taken on that role.
You’ve especially spent time lobbying at the legislature?
Yes, I asked for a law to be passed so no other children die in the same way Kelsey did.
Had DHS, the police department, Judge Key listened to you, would any of these things be necessary if Kelsey was not dead?
At the end of the day, you were right?
Because Kelsey was murdered?
You told Judge Key the only time you would agree to let Kelsey go back with Raye Dawn, also in your testimony from that day, that Mr. Huddleston did not read to the jury, you said you would only agree to send her back when there were no longer any injuries?
I didn’t remember I said that, but yes.
After your contacts with DHS and Teri’s contacts with Kelsey were taken away did she die?
Are you proud of the phone call you made to the Meeker Police Department about Raye Dawn’s tag?
No. I was very frustrated with the police department at that time.
When you picked up the x-rays did you think that was the only copy?
Were you trying to save them because gosh, months later Kelsey would be murdered and there would be a criminal investigation?
For you to believe the knot on the nose, the bruise on the nose, the clavicle story, you’d have to believe Raye Dawn Smith?
Did anyone ever have to report abuse on you about injuries?
No, the only time she was injured in my care was a cat scratch and a dog bite and I documented those.
Is it all of the injuries that concern you?
The consistent pattern.
When Mr. Huddleston mentions DHS investigations what does he mean?
Generally DHS just got a statement from Raye Dawn and took pictures.
Do you know if DHS ever requested a report from Dr. Sullivan about his opinion on the legs?
I don’t know.
Did you ever, ever foresee this moment, that your grandchild would be dead and you’d be testifying for her death and abuse?
Kathie’s testimony ended abruptly when the prosecution tried to introduce an email between she and Mike Porter into the court and the judge denied it saying it was attached to the wrong witness.
Teri Sigman’s Testimony
Kelsey was Teri’s step-granddaughter, Teri’s daughter Ashley was married to Lance Briggs, Kelsey’s father.
How old was Kelsey the first time you saw her?
3 months old.
On January 14th, 2005, what happened?
Ashley and Lance came over with Kelsey to see my son and my daughter in law who were in town from Hawaii.
What was Kelsey like?
She was real quiet and acted like she didn’t feel good. Usually she just hit the door running.
And you took these pictures of Kelsey’s rear and back, correct?
Did you call DHS on these bruise?
No, the ER doctor did.
How many times did you call DHS to report abuse?
At the end of March, Raye Dawn brought her back with a big bruise and I wanted to report it, but the caseworker never called me back. When she twisted her ankle and they told me she fell in her flip flops I was concerned because she had shorts and a t-shirt o and no other scrapes or bruises.
Why did you call DHS?
I called because I’m Kelsey’s grandma.
Did you call the hotline?
No, I called and specifically talked to caseworkers.
Of all of those calls how many times did DHS call you back to find out what you knew?
Pattye shows jurors pictures of Kelsey on August 27th, 2005, the last day anyone in the Briggs family saw Kelsey.
What did you see in the August visit?
She had lost a lot of weight, her eye was blood read, she had bruises all over
her face and her little thigh. I went straight home and called her CASA worker and said I was very concerned.
Something was not right?
I was scared and after seeing her I was scared she wouldn’t be here when her daddy got home.
At least two jurors were moved to tears at the end of Teri’s testimony.
Cross Examination-Tim Henderson
When did you give those pictures of Kelsey on the last day you saw her to the media?
I don’t remember giving them to the media. A lot of people had copies of them.
Is it your testimony that DHS was blowing off calls, the state agency in charge of protecting children, just blowing off your phone calls?
I don’t know why they didn’t call me back.
Your daughter Ashley was married to Lance Briggs?
You’re divorced from Raye Dawn’s uncle?
Yes, years ago.
Were you aware Ashley took notes?
Yes, she took notes.
You took notes for this thing?
Can I see them?
When did you talk to the DA?
When they broke for lunch.
Did you ever give Ashley any advice about what to write in her notes?
What time did you see Kelsey on the 14th?
7 or 7:30.
Who picked Kelsey up?
The kids got her from Kathie.
How many times did you change her diaper on the 14th?
I didn’t, no one did until Ashley gave her a bath.
Did you give her any food?
I don’t remember.
Yes, she always had juice in her sippy cup.
Kids who drink a lot of juice have to go to the bathroom a lot?
You say Ashley screamed when she saw the bruises on her bottom?
She screamed my name.
So she screamed for you to come there and what did you think?
I thought my god what happened.
What did Ashley say?
She just couldn’t understand what had happened.
Did the bruises make you mad?
Did you call Raye Dawn?
Lance called Raye Dawn and asked what happened to her. He said she told him she didn’t know that there were bruises.
Let’s look at all of these pictures you took that night. Are you moving her around house naked and taking different pictures of her?
We took several pictures that night. This one is in the kitchen. This one is in the bathroom.
Is that a hairbrush I see there?
It’s my brush, that I keep in the bathroom.
Whose hand is this?
I don’t know, mine or Ashley’s.
What is this smear? Is that some kind of flaw in the development of this picture?
I don’t know, I haven’t seen it before.
What’s Kelsey chewing on?
Did she have good teeth?
So my client kept her with good oral hygiene?
In January of 2005, were Lance and Ashley fighting with Raye Dawn over custody of Kelsey?
No, Lance was gone in the military and had visitation when he was home on leave.
When Kelsey sprained her ankle was she running?
That’s what we were told.
Where was she running, the grass, those chopped tires on the playground?
I don’t know.
So she could have fallen anywhere?
Did you ever see Kelsey between the 18th and the 21st of April?
She was with the Briggs that week.
Did you go over there?
No particular reason, I was busy that week.
When Kelsey wouldn’t walk you didn’t take any pictures of her?
No. Her ankle wasn’t overly swollen.
Is it fair to say Raye Dawn was under close scrutiny by a number of people?
She was supposed to be, she’s Kelsey’s mom.
Do you have any evidence to contradict that Raye Dawn was not at the zoo?
No. I wasn’t there.
So you don’t have any reason to believe she was?
Was Kathie Briggs calling DHS?
I don’t know.
Did you take pictures of the cat scratch and the dog bite that she got at the Briggs?
Is that because any injuries she got at the Briggs don’t matter?
Why did you not take pictures?
They seemed explainable.
How do you know Kelsey was at the zoo?
I don’t that’s what we were told.
So we don’t know anything about what happened, other than what Raye Dawn has told us?
Are broken legs normal injuries?
A broken clavicle?
Abrasions on her bottom?
Does it make a difference to you when you look at all of the injuries when you look at the way Kelsey died?
No, they weren’t normal injuries, like she fell down.
Do you agree as long as those inspections were occurring and you were taking pictures that as long as that went on Kelsey stayed alive?
JULY 12, 2007
WRITTEN BY: BRITTEN FOLLETT
Donna Gilbreath Testimony
Donna Gilbreath is currently a supervisor at Lewis Manufacturing in Meeker, OK and was Raye Dawn’s supervisor when she was employed at Lewis.
At Lewis we make utility belts and safety harnesses for oil field workers. Raye Dawn braided grips and would come over to my work station for more work several times a day.
One day she came over and I noticed she had a new engagement ring on her hand. We started talking about her new ring. She told us she was engaged to Michael Porter. I asked her how Kelsey felt abut getting a new daddy. She told me Kelsey didn’t like Mike. I asked her why? And she said because she says Mike is mean to her. What do you mean he’s mean to her? He makes her mind. I told her she’s a baby and that you have to listen to her. Kids do not lie. You are the sole protector of Kelsey, if you don’t protect her, who will?
But you did not give up trying to talk to Raye Dawn?
I asked her about three times what “mean” means, and after the third time she started avoiding me.
Did she seem concerned about what you were saying to her?
No, she just didn’t act like she was enthused. We were trying to get her to check into this. We thought we could talk to her because she’s Mildred Fowler’s granddaughter.
So she was not very concerned?
She just kind of flubbed it off cause we were nosing into her business.
You mentioned Raye Dawn thought Kelsey was jealous of Mike?
She told me Kelsey would get jealous when she and Mike would kiss and hug on each other. She told me Little Miss attitude she’s really been acting up since me and Mike got together.
Was Raye Dawn working there when Kelsey died?
But you saw her the next day?
Yes, she came in with another girl who worked with us, Sarah Winters and into the office and talked to Rita Ballard.
What did you think when you saw her?
I was just kind of shocked, I did a double take.
What was she like?
I didn’t see her crying. When she came out I went to lunch.
Did she appear upset?
Not for someone who just lost a baby.
Was it odd?
So in January you became aware the Meeker Police Department was investigating Raye Dawn for abuse?
Yes, one day she came over and snatched the grips out of my hand and I asked her if something was wrong. She said, that bitch has accused me of child abuse.
And who did you think she was talking about?
I thought about it and realized she was talking about Kathie Briggs.
What else did she tell you?
She said Carl Leabo had been up to her apartment and because Kelsey had some marks and someone had accused her of using a brush on her.
I asked her, did you do it?
She said Kelsey kept climbing up and she told her to stop and when she wouldn’t she swatted her with a hairbrush, but she had a diaper on.
You made a statement to OSBI?
Did you tell them about the brush?
I thought I did but I might have forgotten it.
You believe Raye Dawn was a good mother?
For awhile I did.
Raye Dawn loved Kelsey?
Did you get on that website, Kelsey’s purpose?
No, I don’t have a computer.
No, I don’t even know how to work a computer.
Two months after Kelsey’s death on December 22nd 2005 OSBI came to talk to you?
They were investigating the murder of Kelsey?
That’s pretty serious? Murder?
You told the OSBI that you would tease Raye Dawn, about her make-up?
Yea, we would tease her about how done up she always got and tease her about her boyfriends and what she was going to do that night.
You knew it was important to tell OSBI everything?
But you didn’t?
I was nervous and I forgot.
You knew about the animosity between the Briggs and the Smiths?
Sometimes Raye Dawn would bring Kelsey to work?
She seemed very loving?
Sometimes she brought Michael Porter’s kids to work?
I never saw them.
So the day Miste Smith brought Kelsey in with a sprained ankle, were you there?
So Raye Dawn was at work that day, not at the zoo?
Yes, I remember hollering at her.
You knew Miste brought her into work?
I recognized Kelsey. Raye Dawn asked me if she could take her to the doctor? Yes, and I clocked her out.
Did you see any of the bruises?
I saw some bruises on her arms and legs. But she always had an explanation.
Knowing OSBI was talking to you about the abuse and murder of Kelsey you did not ever tell OSBI? You told OSBI Raye Dawn told you Kathie was accusing her of beating Kelsey with a hairbrush, so brush was on your mind? And how do you know Raye Dawn didn’t question Kelsey further about why Mike was mean?
I asked her the next day about it.
But you don’t know what happened at that house?
No, I guess not.
How long is a person supposed to cry when their child has been murdered?
I don’t know. I would have to be sedated. I would be devastated.
Your testimony is different today than it was with the OSBI?
Yes, it’s hard to remember all of the details.
You knew your OSBI statement was different when you came to talk to me?
Just talking about it jogged my memory.
How long did you talk with the OSBI?
You told the OSBI you teased her about her makeup?
Yea, she always came in all fixed up?
Does she look the same today as she normally does?
Mildred Johnston Testimony
Mildred is a former Lewis Manufacturing employee. Her work station was right next to Donna’s.
How did you know Raye Dawn?
I knew her dad because he grew up around the corner, but I did not know Raye Dawn very well.
One day at work she was talking to Donna but I kind of heard it. She had come over to get some work. I heard that Kathie Briggs had talked to Meeker Police Department about Raye Dawn and she mentioned she spatted Kelsey with a hairbrush on her diaper.
What does spatted mean?
Swatted, I’m an old fashioned girl.
Do you remember telling OSBI about this?
They didn’t ask and I was nervous like I am now.
That doesn’t mean it’s not true?
No, I heard that.
You remember Raye Dawn bringing Kelsey in?
Yes, she was adorable.
Did Raye appear to love Kelsey?
Do you remember the time a relative brought Kelesy in from the zoo and she had a sprained ankle?
So Raye Dawn was at work?
Not at the zoo?
OSBI, let’s talk about your interview with them, you knew it was very important because Kelsey had been murdered?
You talk to Donna a lot?
You talked about your testimony?
You know it was important but you never told OSBI?
How close were you to the conversation?
I was behind her.
Donna told OSBI Kathie Briggs accused Raye Dawn of swatting Kelsey is that what you heard?
Is it possible that’s what you heard?
Do you have any doubt in your mind that’s what you heard?
Matt Byers Testimony
Matt is a former Meeker Police Officer, he now works for a hospital in Oklahoma City. He was a Meeker officer for more than 8 years.
In January 2005 what was your rank?
How many officers does the department have?
5 full time and three part time.
How much training do you have in child abuse and neglect investigations?
Leabo showed some interest in investigating and went to more academies than I have been to. I was not as prepared for child abuse and neglect as he was.
Okay let’s go to January 14th 2005 you were on duty correct? And you got a call?
Yes, a child named Kelsey Briggs, they were reporting possible child abuse at the hospital. I was told to contact the nurse at the hospital when I was on my way. The nurse’s name was Pam Arrasmith.
What did she tell you?
A small child came in. She asked if I knew the name Kelsey Smith Briggs? I was familiar with the families.
So you know you knew the families?
Yes, both live in Meeker it’s a very small community.
What happens at the hospital?
Kathie, Royce, Lance and Ashley meet me in the ER. Kathie told me she took custody of Kelsey, Lance and Ashley picked her up and noticed numerous bruises. I did not speak with a doctor prior to talking with Kathie.
So what did you think when you first saw Kelsey?
There were so many bruises and my first impression was that someone is
beating the child. So we took pictures.
But let’s let the jury know that impression changed?
Yes. It looked like multiple bruises on her back, bruise on the outer left thigh, small goose egg on her forehead, and a bruise on her ear. In the ER Kathie Briggs told me she had a broken collarbone when I asked about a history to determine if there was any previous injuries. Once I interviewed everyone there, I could write my initial report which is just the pure facts of the case. I talked to Kathie, Lance and Ashley about where the bruises were, what the timeline was that night, and they had concerns Kelsey was being abused.
So it was your first impression Kelsey was being abused?
Did you meet with the nurse?
Yes, I met with Arrasmith privately to get her opinion. She told me she was most concerned about the red prickly marks, not the other bruises because they did not have finger marks in them that would generally be consistent with bruises caused by abuse.
And that made you start thinking she was not abuse?
It just made me not jump up and start accusing people of abusing children. I just thought we needed to look at all of the facts.
So did you suspect Kelsey was in any danger of further abuse when you allowed her to go home with the Briggs family?
No, I would not have allowed her to go home with them if I had any suspicions someone in the hospital had abused the child.
Did you do any more work the morning of the 15th?
That night I prepared my report and put in the chief’s box and said we
need to follow up.
You try to be accurate in police reports?
That’s your job right? So on page 15 Pam Arrasmith says the bruises and marks on her buttocks are not consistent with the traditional swatting of the hand. You did not include that you may have changed your mind about possible abuse?
No, you didn’t include that Ms. Arrasmith said she was more concerned about the red marks than the bruises?
Why do you have 19 pages and I have 18?
I don’t know.
Do I have your entire narrative? 3 pages.
I contacted Leabo because he had a background in this sort of thing the next day?
Yes, I told him I was highly concerned for child abuse and knew we needed to interview Raye Dawn and any other person of interests. He agreed and determined to start. The Briggs told him Raye Dawn had care and custody before they found the bruises so Leabo said we needed to talk to Lance, Gayla and Michael Porter.
Were all of those interviews conducted?
Lance, Kathie Briggs, not Gayla, not Michael Porter.
Who decided not to talk to Michael Porter and Gayla?
We both agreed.
Because Kathie Briggs told me that Mike was a nice guy and probably did not need to be investigated. He would not do anything like this. On the 16th Leabo began making phone calls. On the 17th I came in early to sit in on interviews at the police department.
When you came in to conduct interviews did you have anything that changed your mind since that night that abuse was not the most likely explanation?
Not that I recall.
At 10 am Raye Dawn came in for an interview?
Yes, she came in voluntarily.
Did you participate in the questioning?
Prior to her coming into the room did you have any contact with her?
What did she say about the bruises?
She said she was not aware of the bruises on her bottom, she did not see them. She told me Kelsey had been with Curtis some the week before, but other than that didn’t have much explanation as to why she didn’t notice the bruises.
So what did you do then?
We tried to corroborate her statement with other people. She seemed very interested in the case, very open, honest, and willing to help, and in my opinion acted very out of character for people charged with a crime.
How many hours of training do you have in investigating people and interrogating people?
Who told you you can tell by looking at someone if they committed a crime?
DA puts up pictures of Kelsey’s butt.
In the report you say that Smith states she believes the bruises on her face came from the fall. But she was unaware of any bruising on the child’s thigh, and on her back and buttocks. So what next?
We asked her what the furnishings in the bedroom look like. She told us there was a slide next to the bed, so I wanted to go the apartment to check on it. When I got to the apartment I waited 30 minutes for her to get there, because I didn’t want her to hurry up and get it clean and in order. What else did you do for your part of the investigation?
I went up to the apartment to see the slide.
Why do you think the slide caused the bruises on her face?
Because they were straight lined and you can tell they were not caused from a hand or a belt.
Can you think of anyone else who would have had better knowledge about how those bruises could get there?
I don’t know, a doctor, probably.
Did you call a doctor?
You just figured it was more likely that the bruises came from the fall
rather than from someone slapping her?
She just told you she didn’t know about the bruises on the behind and lower back, you don’t find that unusual?
Don’t you think a parent would notice these bruises if she gave her a bath?
I think so.
Changed her diaper?
I think so.
If she was running around the house naked?
I think so.
But she told you she never did?
So what time frame were you looking at for your investigation?
From the collarbone forward.
And you said a few minutes ago you wanted to look at everyone?
She told you Curtis had Kelsey for a time the week before, did you interview him?
Did you know Mildred had cared for her?
She never told you that?
Would that have changed your opinion?
I don’t know.
The interview you did with Raye Dawn that day is videotaped, did you review it before coming to court?
Yes, but the audio is hard to understand.
So Gayla was at the police department that day, did you interview her?
I just talked to her in the hallway. I talked to Raye Dawn, her mother, but I didn’t record anything, then I talked to Kathie and Lance.
Okay back at the house, she lets you in and you take pictures. This is a picture of the doorway to the bedroom correct? Are these toys?
This is a picture of the slide next to the bed, right?
This is a picture of the toys from a different angle?
This is a picture of a hairbrush on the floor. And here’s a close up of the hairbrush.
Now you told us exactly what Raye Dawn told you about these injuries?
She’s not providing any further explanation at the house?
So why did you provide a close up picture of the hairbrush?
In my opinion I thought it was strange it was on the floor not with the toys.
You think the hairbrush caused the injuries?
In my opinion I think she fell on the hairbrush.
Did you ask her if there were other hairbrushes?
She didn’t know, she said maybe in the bathroom. I asked her why it was there and she said maybe Kelsey was playing with it.
So what next?
I went back and talked with Leabo, I was following his direction in the case.
Had Raye Dawn ever told you that Kelsey fell on a hairbrush?
That she spanked Kelsey with a hairbrush?
No. I just thought it was odd that the only hairbrush was set aside, not by the toys so I thought it could have been either she fell on the brush or was hit by the brush. When I saw the house I realized she could have gone down the slide and then fell on the hairbrush. Every question we asked her we were able to corroborate. We’ll never know exactly what happened.
Did Raye Dawn tell you Kelsey fell on a brush?
That is something you created?
Tell me how you created that story?
I just did.
Did you contact a doctor and say do you think this could have happened as a result of a fall on a hairbrush?
But at this point you ruled out abuse?
I thought it was more likely an accident. I spoke to Leabo and gave him my idea about what could happen, and he told me anything was a possibility. The possibility of child abuse was very slight in my mind now.
So the decision is made not to interview Porter?
Any more investigation?
I left it to Leabo. That seems like a cop out, but he led this investigation.
Was the investigation ever reopened?
Did you ever hear about Kelsey again?
We heard Kelsey was hurt again through the rumor mill. I had heard that Raye Dawn had been with Kelsey on the courthouse steps where she fell and twisted her ankle.
Who told you that?
I can’t remember.
How many conversations have you had with Mr. Huddleston?
Both after me?
No, one before and one after.
Did you talk to Mr. Huddleston about the fact that I told him you heard this story?
He knew that I had told you about it.
You thought it would be important to tell me about that fall, but you have no idea who told you about it?
I don’t remember.
I took a lot of notes when we talked, do you remember telling me that Raye Dawn said she was with me when she fell on the steps and twisted her ankle?
I don’t remember Raye Dawn telling me that, I believe I was just speaking in first person.
Did you ever have a conversation with Greg Wilson, Raye Dawn’s attorney in the custody case?
Who if anyone did you suggest this was a case of Munchausen’s by proxy?
I said that to Greg.
Not about Raye Dawn?
We thought Kathie Briggs kept point out new bruises that Raye Dawn did not seem to ever know about.
Did you ever come up with a hypothesis that Raye Dawn could be responsible?
Everyone has an opinion about what happened to her?
So based on the rumor mill you were comfortable telling a lawyer that this was a case of Munchausen’s? Why didn’t you investigate it yourself?
No jurisdiction because she lives outside city limits. We told many people to look into it we reported it to numerous attorneys, law enforcement agencies, and they looked at me like I was crazy.
Is it true you said to me that, “This was the case of the village idiots against the Smiths who were good people?”
Do you feel like you are on trial today?
Are you a good police officer?
Yes, I believe so.
Did I suggest you testify in a certain way?
No, my meeting with you was the same as it was with Pattye High.
Was there bad blood between these two families?
Not bad blood but not a whole lot of liking.
Did the animosity ratchet up?
Yes, our police department would get anonymous calls and letters accusing Raye Dawn of everything from not having a valid drivers license, to having an illegal tag. WE got constant over and over reports of where Raye Dawn and Michael Porter were and what they were doing. We followed up on what we could.
You say that the nurse was not concerned about the bruises being child abuse?
I said not as concerned.
Did you interview Dr. Griffin?
I did not.
He testified they could have been scratches?
I don’t remember him saying that.
Is this the crib?
Yes, this is the one she fell out of? How high is that crib?
Was Kelsey an active child?
Each time I had seen Kelsey she was always running, jumping, laughing.
At the interviews were Kathie, Lance Royce and Ashley all present?
What was your impression of Kathie?
At first I thought she was just a highly concerned grandmother. I hadn’t seen Raye Dawn in more than a year and I wanted to know what she was like now.
So who did Kathie tell you you needed to investigate?
She just told me Raye Dawn, Raye Dawn, because she’s the mother.
And who did Lance tell you to look at?
He just kept saying Michael Porter this and that, I just figured he seemed like a jealous ex-relationship situation.
Were they vague about the timeline of where they were that night?
I don’t believe we really talked about the timeline. Kathie told me they picked her up at 6pm. I was dispatched about 12:15 am.
You were present when you interviewed Raye Dawn?
How long did you talk to her?
About an hour.
Lots and lots of questions?
In my opinion there was.
Did she hesitate?
Did she seem cooperative?
What was your overall impression?
She seemed genuinely concerned about the well being of her child.
She just wanted to get in there and get this behind her?
Yes. She wanted to see pictures of the bruises and she kept saying I can’t believe I didn’t know this was there.
Was this your first interview?
No, I’ve done more than 100.
Has Leabo conducted a lot of interviews?
Both of you came to the same opinion that this was not abuse?
Does he have his own opinions on things?
Very much. He would have fought me tooth and nail if he didn’t agree, he’s done it before.
So what did you do with your report?
I took to Clayton Nemeyer the ADA in Smothermon’s office.
You presented your findings?
I brought him a copy of the report, but did not bring any of the pictures.
Who does Nemeyer work for?
How long did you talk to him?
15 or 20 minutes.
How many times have you presented charges to the DA?
And have there been time when the DA askes you to interview more people?
Did he ask you to go back and interview Michael Porter?
Anyone else in the Briggs family?
I told him in my professional opinion this was not child abuse and he told me if you believe there’s not charges here, then there’s no charges.
So Clayton Nemeyer knew about the case?
Did you tell him your impression about the family and the history of the custody battle?
Yes, he knew about the whole case.
And did the DA’s office ever contact you about any other abuse with Kelsey?
I have not been talked to until a couple of weeks ago.
They had the report all of this time and no one talked to you?
If they had went and talked to you would you have relayed your feelings about the case?
Were you surprised DHS move forward with the abuse case?
Yes. Because we stated very bluntly there was no child abuse.
Why did they move forward?
Because they felt we were wrong based on the pictures and the report.
We have looked at a number of other bruises on Kelsey did anyone contact you to do an investigation?
The DA’s office?
In May of 2005 you investigated Kathie for harassing and stalking?
Yes I was coming back from Lincoln County and had a call that a vehicle was driving fast crossing over the center median, and passing in no passing zones. It was an anonymous call to the Meeker police department. So I drove around and happened to find the car that met the description of the caller
at Raye Dawn’s grandmother’s house. When I went and knocked on the door Raye Dawn answered and she was on the phone with Yolanda Hunter. I asked if she had come back from Chandler and asked if she was driving erratically. She said no but said she thought Kathie Briggs was following her back from Chandler. While I was speaking on the phone with Yolanda I saw Kathie
pass by the driveway twice and said this is ridiculous can you file a report for stalking and harassing. I went to the DA and he told me it would not be appropriate to file charges due to the ongoing civil matter between the families.
April 2005 Kelsey had two fractures, did you investigate?
Did the DA?
Did DHS call you?
No. I heard about it and Leabo and I talked about someone needing to investigate this.
Did you ever ask anyone to?
Did you do a good job on this case?
Yes. We did the best we could have done with the knowledge that we had.
Knowing what you know now would you change anything?
No. I’m still convinced there was no abuse on January 14th.
All of this information about her further injuries you say you got from the rumor mill?
You read what you read in the media and form an opinion.
Back at that time you and DHS did not have the best working relationship?
They hide behind a veil of secrecy.
Are you aware Mr. Beyers that’s the law?
I’m sure it is. We just wanted to know the status of the investigations.
So you mentioned you were surprised DHS completed an independent investigation of the collarbone? Did it ever occur to you that they went one step further and talked to the doctor?
I don’t know who they talked to.
The DA’s office filed a deprived petition in this case?
Did you come to court?
Were you at the courthouse on June 16th? Did you talk to Judge Key in his chambers?
Yes. He asked my opinion and I explained that all the requirements had been met and it was my opinion that if everything had been met he had to return Kelsey to Raye Dawn by law.
What law were you referring to?
I don’t know he’s the judge.
Do you know the law today?
Mr. Beyers have you ever been aware of this so called law you were referring to? What was that based on? Your investigation was over?
I don’t know.
You didn’t know but you told him the law required him to send Kelsey home. Do you regret that?
You mentioned you filed stalking charges on Kathie?
Because you saw a car go by twice and everything else was based on Raye Dawn and Yolanda’s statements?
There had to be more but I don’t have my affidavit here.
You swore under oath Kathie was stalking Raye Dawn and you don’t know anything other than what Raye Dawn told you?
I’m sure there was more.
In January of 2005 you had a child’s mother who was saying she didn’t know where the bruises came from and that was not enough for you?
That was not enough for me based on the interviews and going to the house.
At the end of your report officer Beyers you actually recommend that the visitation schedule should be changed? Let me guess, that came from Raye
Raye Dawn and Kathie. It just seemed like she was always being passed around.
Kelsey was present at your interviews with Raye Dawn at the department?
Would it surprise you to believe Raye Dawn left Kelsey with Kathie that day? She was in the video during the interview with Lance.
Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you meant she was in the room with her mother.
You said Kathie kept telling you to talk to Raye Dawn? Pushing you?
Who was Kathie supposed to tell you?
You already told the court Lance kept saying Michael Porter’s name over and over and you still didn’t interview him?
At the end of this story, Kelsey Briggs dies at either the hands of Michael Porter or Raye Dawn. And is it true, you’re not even certain it’s a homicide?
I’m not sure.
Carl Leabo Testimony
Meeker police chief
My most sincere apologies I was not in the courtroom for the beginning of Mr. Leabo’s testimony as the proceeding started earlier than scheduled but I did get this from the direct examination:
Smothermon told Leabo he would have filed charges against Raye Dawn if he would have known that the two witnesses who testified this morning saying Raye Dawn admitted to beating Kelsey with her hair brush, if he had known their stories and Raye Dawn’s story conflicted he would have filed charges.
Mr. Leabo if you were doing interviews for an investigation, if those witnesses would have come forward 6 monts later would they be credible to you?
I’d question everything they said.
And you have a lot of training interviewing suspects?
Yes. I had more training in child abuse than Mr. Beyers.
Did the nurse at the hospital talk to you?
Did you ever interview her?
You came up with the same conclusion as Byers?
You stand by that conclusion?
At that time.
Kristal Johnson Testimony
Ms. Johnson how are you employed?
I’m an intake worker and investigator for the department of human services.
How long have you been employed with DHS?
What kind of training do you have to be qualified as an investigator?
7 weeks of core training and a bachelors degree.
As an investigator what do you do?
I investigate abuse and neglect cases.
How do you determine these cases?
We get referrals from phone calls and law enforcement.
Does any referral that comes in have to be investigated?
We have guidelines. Basically if we get 2 or 3 calls on the same incident we can screen them out and lump them in the same investigation. On January 14th I investigated allegations a child had a broken collarbone and extensive bruises on her body and her buttocks.
Did it contain any information on how those injuries came to be?
The child had broken her collarbone climbing out of a crib.
We saw Kelsey for the first time January 19th, Miss Raye Dawn brought her to the DHS office because we had to leave notes at her houses because we could not get a hold of her.
What did Kelsey look like?
A lot of the bruises had already faded, but we did receive photos.
Were they more significant in the pictures?
Yes, they had just healed.
When you met Kelsey did you try to talk to her?
She didn’t really comprehend and she was really active, running around and stuff.
Did you talk to Raye Dawn?
Yes, to address allegations and find out her explanation.
And what did she tell you?
She was not aware of the bruises on the buttocks. She explained the collarbone. But did not explain the injuries to the buttocks.
How long did you talk to her?
45 minutes to an hour.
Did you get information from doctors?
Yes. Doctors and collaterals.
Explain to the jury what collaterals are.
ollaterals are people who have knowledge about the patient.
In this case who are collaterals?
Ms. Kathie Briggs, Gayla Smith, Mildred Fowler.
Did Raye Dawn tell you her brother Curtis had Kelsey a few days before the bruises appeared?
No. Raye Dawn told me Mildred took care of her between the 10th and the 14th.
So you talked with everyone?
I spoke with Lance Briggs on the phone and talked to everyone else in person.
Did you have any information about Michael Porter?
Yes, I interviewed him to see if he had any additional information on Raye.
Did you have the benefit of the Meeker Police Report?
From reading that report, were you aware the police department said she got the bruises by falling on a hairbrush?
I don’t think I did.
Who gave you Michael Porter’s name?
And after you do your investigation, what did you determine?
We said the finding was confirmed and services recommended.
And what does that mean?
That abuse did happen.
There are confirmed court intervention options as well, but you did not recommend that?
Did you become aware that Kathie Briggs had filed for emergency guardianship?
Did that impact the ruling and finding?
If she would not have been with Kathie what would you have done?
We would have put the child in DHS custody.
Why? Who did you confirm the perpetrator was?
When was that investigation complete?
We closed the case on February 10th, 2005.
At the conclusion you turn it over to a permanency planning worker?
Yes, Yolanda Hunter.
We received another referral March 24th. It was a knot on her nose, and bruises to her thigh and ribcage. I saw Kelsey when she was brought into my office on the 25th.
What did you see?
A light bruise across the nose and thigh. We combined the nose and thigh with the ribcage referral and began investigating.
Who was she with?
But was Raye Dawn able to see Kelsey?
Whose care was Kelsey with when those injuries occurred?
Raye Dawn. I interviewed her on the 28th and she admitted those injuries occurred with her.
What did she tell you?
She says she and Kelsey we running through the kitchen and Kelsey fell flat on her face.
Okay on April 5th, whose care was Kelsey in?
Raye Dawn’s care.
Did you observe the bruises on Kelsey?
I observed bruises to the thigh and hip area and she had one on her back.
You saw the injuries on Kelsey?
What was Raye Dawn’s explanation?
Kelsey was kicking through a screen door trying to look at puppies and she fell through.
What was your finding?
Why not abuse?
Because she gave me some explanation for the bruises.
If a deprived petition had been filed would anything have changed?
It might have caused her to do more services, but she was not living with
Did you rule out child abuse?
We still had concerns but did not confirm it.
What about these bruises caused you concern?
It’s a plausible explanation but you can never really know for sure.
Did you find it unusual she only gets bruises with Raye Dawn?
You did not determine “services not needed”?
On April 25, you got another referral, and prior to this referral were you aware of anything going on with Kelsey? Did you know Kelsey had supposedly had a sprained ankle?
Yes, Miste and Raye Dawn came to the office saying Kelsey had tripped at the zoo and sprained her ankle.
Why did she come to DHS?
I believe she was just letting us know what happened with her child.
Between the 15th and the 25th do you see Raye Dawn?
On the 25th we received the referral for the two broken legs.
You had no contact with her between the 15th and the 25th?
On the 25th this new referral what was it?
Two bilateral fractures on her left and right tibia.
Were you there at DHS when Raye Dawn had brought Kelsey into DHS before taking her to the ER?
Yes, we told her to take her to the ER because she looked like she was in a lot of pain, she couldn’t walk and her legs looked red and swollen. We did an investigation and recommended DHS custody. When this referral came in Yolanda Hunter did a lot of the work because she was involved with the family. We spoke with Raye Dawn, Mike, Kathie, and got the Dr.’s reports.
So Raye Dawn Smith is now Raye Dawn Porter? Was she living with Porter before now?
Not to our knowledge.
So you start looking at everybody, Raye, Mike, Kathie Briggs, Ashley, Lance, when you are investigating leg fractures is it important for you to figure out how old the fractures are?
Yes. Yolanda Hunter talked to the doctors.
Why is the age important?
To determine who had Kelsey at the time they likely happened.
What time frame were you looking at?
April 15th when the child sprained her ankle to the 25th.
Did anyone speak with a radiologist on the 15th?
Yes and there were no fractures.
Did you interview everyone?
We could not get a hold of Lance because he was overseas.
Did you receive additional information about the leg fractures?
Yes. The doctors in OKC diagnosed it as a buse. I found that out on May 2nd.
So does that change the investigation?
Yes, the doctor said it was abuse so we took her into DHS custody that day.
But prior to the OKC doctors saying it was abuse Dr. Barrett said the fractures were caused by the ankle sprain and overcompensation?
If we have conflicting doctors reports and one says abuse and the other not, we took her into DHS custody.
The decision to remove Kelsey was that because you had made a decision about a perpetrator?
What was your focus?
To protect the child. If we didn’t know who the perpetrator was we could not protect her if we didn’t take her into DHS custody.
On April 29th, you got another referral?
Yes, a knot on her nose.
Whose care was she in?
Did you talk to her about how they occurred?
The Pott county worker did.
What did Raye Dawn say happened?
She says Whitney had elbowed her in the nose the night they slept together.
Did Raye Dawn witness that?
Did anyone witness that?
What was your ruling?
You did not rule that it wasn’t abuse?
But at this point you’re investigating two broken legs, those take priority right?
We already had an open investigation into the legs and we already had the child in DHS custody.
Was a deprived petition filed?
Tell the jury what a deprived petition means?
The child goes into DHS custody and the parents go through a court ordered treatment plan.
Why do you file a deprived petition?
Because we are concerned the child’s life is at risk. Was there an allegation or a perpetrator on the deprived petition?
No, it said Child Abuse, unknown perpetrator.
So then the court hearings start, where was Kelsey staying?
With Gayla Smith.
She remains there until June 15th or 16th?
At that point the permanency planner was working that part of it.
Did you testify at the hearing?
Did you recommend she be adjudicated deprived?
Did you recommend she go home with her mom that day?
You are aware Kelsey died October 11, 2005?
The district attorney questioned you about the hearing on June 15th did you testify at that hearing?
Did you tell Judge Key about all of the incidents you testified to today?
I don’t remember what all questions we were asked that day.
Did you go into what you did?
And Judge Key ruled an unknown perpetrator, not my client?
She was part of it.
That’s not what I asked you, was there an unknown perpetrator?
DHS ruled out abuse on the collarbone?
It was part of the January 14th confirmed services recommended.
But DHS ruled out abuse on the collarbone?
Yes. It’s still part of the allegation and part of the report.
Is the collarbone abuse?
As for the bruises you received the Meeker Police Report and you’re aware they cleared my client?
Did you talk to both families about this?
You’re aware of the animosity between the families?
Did you consider that?
Did my client cooperate?
Has she always cooperated?
Before there was ever any determination of deprived are you aware Yolanda Hunter told her to go to class?
Did she ever refuse?
Did she ever hesitate?
Did she ever say talk to my lawyer?
Did she open up her home to you?
Did she ever refuse you access?
Did you keep up with the case after Yolanda Hunter became the primary worker?
On and off.
Was your impression CHBS and CASA got involved?
Has my client ever not cooperated?
On January 13th, where was Kelsey?
I think she was with Lance and Kathie.
Kristal Johnson started crying when Huddleston showed her pictures of Kelsey with the bruises.
Kids and bruises, you know kids get bruises?
Isn’t that just a normal bruise?
It could be.
She fell in the kitchen, you are supposed to call police if you see abuse?
Did you call police?
How about the knot on the nose, Whitney elbowed her?
You interviewed Whitney? Michael Porter?
Michael Porter told you that the next morning he woke his daughter up for school and saw her right arm stretching across the bridge of Kelsey’s nose?
Whitney did she not admit that’s what happened?
If I recall she said she did not remember.
Did she say her dad told her about it?
If you would have seen abuse would you have called police?
On April 25th the screen door incident, did you call police?
Did you see abuse?
Are the explanations consistent with the injuries?
Huddleston gets out calendar.
Who have Kelsey from April 18th through the 21st?
The Briggs family.
Based on your own investigation who had access to Kelsey?
Mike and Raye had her part of the time and Kathie Briggs had her part of the time.
Who did Kathie have the child around?
I don’t know day to day.
On the 25th you learned Kelsey had two fractured legs?
Sullivan said it was abuse?
You have a child with two broken legs and you did not ask who she was swith?
We just asked whose home she was in. We asked Kathie and Raye.
Who had access to Kelsey on the 15th?
I don’t know.
You have no idea how many people had access to Kelsey during that time?
You said once a doctors says it’s abuse then to protect a child you rule it abuse? Did you call police?
No. I thought law enforcement had been notified. It got shuffled, it didn’t get sent.
Who is your supervisor?
Did she call police?
Did you ever call the DA about the case?
We submit reports to Mr. Smothermon’s office.
So there was no police investigation whatsoever on the legs?
Not to my knowledge.
If you found out Kelsey has sprained her ankle and Raye Dawn did not report it that would have upset you?
I don’t understand.
She better report it or you are going to report her to the DA?
If it was abuse we would investigate it.
Would you agree my client was under constant scrutiny by DHS and the Briggs?
When we came back from break the judge discussed a matter outside the presence of the jury and decided to allow testimony from Annette Swinford who apparently monitored a supervised visit at DHS where Kelsey is recorded sayig to Raye Dawn, “Daddy Mike hurt my legs.” And she responds by saying, “Daddy Mike couldn’t have done that because you weren’t around him” or something to that effect.
You said Kelsey was with Kathie and Lance on the 13th and the 14th of January? Take a look at your notes, wasn’t she actually with Raye Dawn?
He asked you about the bruise on the nose, ribcage and thigh? He said you didn’t see any abuse happen, did you mean that you didn’t see those injuries happen or did you mean that no abuse occurred?
We did not confirm abuse.
Did you rule out abuse?
I wouldn’t say we did.
He asked you about the April 29th report on the nose, does Whitney remember hitting Kelsey in the nose?
She says her dad told her she must have.
What did Raye Dawn say about the nose?
She had said Mike came in and told her Kelsey had a knot so she went to look at it.
Did she offer a different explanation than Whitney hit her in the nose?
I don’t believe so.
As a DHS worker, you know how it ends, October 11, 200th, Kelsey is dead, does it make you go back over and look over all these investigations?
What do you mean?
Do you go back, knowing she was murdered and look at all of your investigations differently?
I think that’s a hard question to answer. She chokes up and says, “I did everything I could on January 17th.”
Right, she always provided you with an explanation for the bruises. If that information she was giving you was not true would that change what you had done?
If I knew they weren’t true it could change things.
Raye Dawn did everything asked of her?
Did Kelsey continue to get injured?
Did Raye Dawn come in and tell you about the bruises on the ribcage, bruises on the thigh, all of the other bruises?
So, why would Raye Dawn come in and tell you about the sprained ankle when she hasn’t reported any others?
I don’t know.
Yolanda Hunter Testimony
Child Welfare Specialist II
I was a permanency planner who worked towards family reunification.
On February 18th, 2005 I was assigned as Kelsey Smith Briggs worker and I met her.
Where was she living?
With a grandparent.
Did you meet with Raye Dawn Smith?
I did not get introduced to her until March 11th, Kristal and I were out
working and we were called and told to come to court suddenly. I actually met her there. I didn’t know what had happened in court and she told me that she was ordered to do parenting classes and anger management.
Was a deprived petition filed?
What was the hearing about?
I had no idea, I was just told to get there. So Gayla, Raye Dawn and Michael Porter were there and they told me she was ordered to do parenting, domestic violence and something else.
You were to make sure that happened?
Did you get a court order?
Is that typical?
Is that unusual?
So I just told her where to go to take classes. When she was placed in DHS custody on May 3rd, as her supervisor worker I came more on board with my responsibilities. I had to assess the risk.
Were you aware are Michael Porter and Raye Dawn married at this point?
No, not until after the fact.
How does that impact your job?
It changes because I have to now consider a man in the picture.
Was Michael Porter agreeing to complete services?
Did he finish?
No. He was not court ordered. I asked him to do parenting.
Was Raye Dawn aware Michael Porter was not doing the services?
I don’t know.
Were you okay with him not completing services?
If he could learn from what she was teaching him that was okay.
From May 3rd when Kelsey was in DHS custody to June 15th and 16th did you do anything different?
Were you at the court case in Lincoln County?
Did you testify?
Did you make a recommendation?
Not to go back home.
Was that hearing adjudicated deprived and custody?
I believe so. Kelsey was adjudicated deprived because of the two broken
legs based on physical abuse, one time confirmed against mom.
So Kelsey is adjudicated deprived on the 16th, where is she placed?
She went home with mom.
That is not what you recommend?
Is that unusual?
Ever seen it before?
No. I wanted to make sure that home was safe so I spoke with supervisor to do a house assessment. I crossed county lines and went to the house that night.
What was your mindset at this point did you have any concerns?
It’s too soon, she can’t verbalize why these things were happening. There was a lot of history of injuries. I’m just a slow grandma and I would have rather taken this slowly.
I mean all of the past referrals.
As a placement worker what do you do?
Not much because there was a Pott county worker assigned to her, so I only had her every 28 days for review. I had made an application for CHBS just to have another set of eyes at the home and work on any issues.
When does CHBS go in the home?
How often? 1-2x a week.
Not that I’m aware of.
Does CHBS report to you?
Do you have any concerns?
When she got shampoo in her eyes. I spoke with them.
We’ll get to that one, between July and September did you have any other concerns?
Oh there were others. August 1st Smith said there were seizures her eyes would roll back and she’d bite her tongue and tremor. I told her to take her to the doctor. There was the car wreck August 19th and they said someone had hit them.
Did Raye report any injuries?
None. The people at EMSA asked if she needed care and she said no. I told her to take Kelsey to the ER I was under the assumption she had been checked out, but then I was told that it was so late and a triage nurse told them they would not get to her until later. She was not seen by anyone. She took her to the doctor on the 23rd and I asked her to have the doctor contact me. On the
20th I went to see her and picked her up out of the bed. She was groggy trying to wake up out of her sleep. She had redness in one eye and an injury to the groin area.
A strap edge, it was very linear.
Any other injuries?
Do you have contact with Raye Dawn on the 21st?
Not for sure.
Why did CHBS call you after Kelsey saw the doctor? To report issues?
After the doctors appointment were you made aware she had any injuries on her?
No, but when she came to the DHS office she had bruises.
Pattye shows jury pictures of Kelsey at DHS with a large bruise on her cheek. In another picture Gayla is holding her. One juror began crying.
When you were at the Porter home on the 20th did you see this bruise?
Not that I can remember. I would have written this down. I was not aware of this bruise until grandma brought her in. She brought her in sleeping so this bruise was not showing.
What else was going on?
There were concerns about her not eating or sleeping. Kelsey was not eating, she was self-harming herself she would pick at things until they bled and she would bite her arm until it bled.
Did you have access to her entire file to find out if she was doing these things before she went home to live with Raye Dawn?
Did you have any information that would lead you to believe she was doing any of those things before returning home?
August 27th, she visited with Ashley were there any referrals?
I’m not sure.
The concern was that Kelsey had lost weight?
Was it true?
Yes. She continued to have problems and no one could tell me what was wrong so we continued to take her to the doctor.
Let’s talk about the eye what happened?
Kelsey was outside playing so I went up to her and asked her what happened she
said, “Got shampoo.” I told Raye Dawn and Mike that this a high profile case and they could not do things like that. Mike got angry at me and said she can’t do anything without being under a microscope. I told him that I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of the injuries and if they didn’t stop she could lose her daughter again. They told me she rubbed it raw with a towel and I told them I had a hard time believing that. Michael Porter told me I’ll do it for you right now if you don’t believe me.
What did the injury look like?
There was a tear on the eyelid, they told me she had rubbed it raw.
But you said that didn’t make any sense?
She explained it and meant it to be factual. My understanding was that it was mom who gave her the towel. I told them they are running the risk of their child being removed.
Were you aware of an injury explained that a lamp fell on her?
When the Porter family moved to Meeker did you get involved?
Next time I saw her on October 7th.
When I came in mom was bringing her out of the bathroom, she had just had a bath and I watched as Raye Dawn dressed her. I saw her from head to toe and she did not have any injuries or bruises.
Do you remember seeing any play bruises?
No, Kelsey came around and hugged me, we colored, ate, drank her juice, none that I saw.
Is that the last time you saw Kelsey alive?
July 13, 2007
WRITTEN BY: Lisa Monahan
Yolanda Hunter - Cross Examination
You first got involved in the case on February 18, 2005?
After October 11, 2005 do you remember being interviewed by OSBI?
You told OSBI there was a lot of tension between the two families?
When working with the family there was a lot of he said, she said. Fingerpointing?
Between the two families?
Was it regular?
Quite a lot actually, the grandma went behind everyone to get guardianship.
What do you mean by that?
Raye Dawn told me she felt like Kathie Briggs went behind her back.
Did you think it was true?
I was not on board with the case at that time.
Did Kathie make complaints about you?
She had made some.
One or two, I am not for sure.
Has the Briggs family sued you over this?
Yes, as well as others.
Have you thought about the lawsuit?
I've thought about it a lot.
So much, you think carefully about how you testify?
My testimony will not change at any point.
Is this the first time I have talked with you?
I have tried before but was told you would not talk with me?
I was advised not to.
Have you met with the D.A.?
You met with the D.A. and not me?
You called this a high profile case, why?
At DHS a high profile case is one where others are watching this case closely.
So you would say the Briggs family was watching Raye Dawn closely?
Before January there were no referrals, correct?
That's my recollection.
Earlier you said Raye Dawn was the perpetrator?
At one point yes.
Did the judge hear the whole case on June 15th?
To my knowledge.
There was only one court judication and the judge found an unknown perpetrator? So what you said about Raye Dawn is incorrect?
I based that statement on all of the history.
Huddleston presents calendar of April 2005
Do these dates look correct to you (referring to time spent between the
Briggs and Smith families) ?
As far as I know.
From April 14, 15, 16, 17 , 18 can you tell me who had Kelsey?
She was with the Briggs family.
On this statement, you stated Kelsey was with various people?
How can I say that if I was not there.
This issue was brought to Judge Key, and I would say two broken legs are a
big deal in this case? The only investigation is done by DHS, so I am asking
can you tell me?
I cannot tell you who, I was not there.
Can you tell me whom she was with from April 18 to April 25th?
It states on your calendar she was with Raye Dawn. In this case two names get thrown around. Raye Dawn and Kathie Briggs.
Surely in 11 days, with the amount of people on both sides of the family, surely there were people involved than Ray and Kathie?
I would have to say yes..but I was not there.
If you were trying to find out about the broken legs wouldn't that be
Yes, we did ask during the investigation.
Did you turn this over to any law enforcement?
No, I talked to the doctor and the doctor said it ((casts)) is an overcompensation. We were told she was taken to another doctor against our knowledge. Then it was named abuse.
Did you turn it over to police then?
No, she did not.
Are you saying she and the department made a mistake?
We may have.
You said it was unusual Judge Key gave Kelsey back to Raye Dawn?
Sometimes at judication, children are turned back over to their parents if there is improvement.
Did she fully cooperate?
Yes she did.
Did she do everything you asked?
Is that the case when she went before the judge? Did she complete
You didn't require her to do anything further?
I was assessing their relationship.
I asked if you had her do anything after CHBS on June 15th?
There were no referrals prior to January?
She had been cooperative?
The judge had ruled there was an unknown perpetrator, correct?
You never testified this child should go back to Raye Dawn?
Yes, with phasing.
Your goal was to put Kelsey back with Raye?
Yes with Phasing.
So the judge just did it without phasing correct?
After June, DHS set up meeting with Raye Dawn? How often did you have
contact with Raye?
Huddleston presents calendar of June 2005
On June 16th, you met with Raye Dawn?
Yes a house assessment.
What is a house assessment?
Checking there is a fire extinguisher, cleaning products put up, that knives are put up.
I have a report my client called you June 16th and June 20th, remember that?
Yes, She called to say everything was going good.
So she took it upon herself to call you?
On the June 27th, to say everything was fine?
Huddleston presents calendar of July 2005
On July 1st, I show you called Raye?
On July 7th, Darrell Ryan with DHS made a home visit?
Yes, Later in the day after I left.
So you both were there that day?
So two home visits?
Did you find anything abnormal?
Yes, Kelsey had the flip-flops she allegedly had on when she sprained her ankle.
Okay, Anything else like abuse?
No, she was just following me around playing with my hair.
On June 20th, Ashley called and said make Raye Dawn answer her phone Lance
is trying to call?
Raye Dawn stated that's fine.
She didn't say he can't call did she?
When were the next time you dealt with Raye Dawn and Michael Porter?
On July 25th, Raye Dawn called me and said they had gone out of state
without prior approval. I told her she can't do that.
Did she ever do it again?
On July 31st she called and couldn't reach you? And she says she called
cause she hadn't heard from you in a while?
Huddleston presents calendar of August 2005
On August 4th, you made a home visit?
She had a red nose and appeared to have sinus problems.
On the 5th you called?
On the 11th she contacted you?
On the 23rd?
Now the 19th is when the car wreck happened?
On the 20th you went over there and you said you didn't see a bruise?
There was and I'm trying to remember but quite a bit went on between that time. I also saw a mark from the seatbelt.
You did not see a bruise on her face?
I don't remember.
I should be able to remember something like that.
At the wreck was there an ambulance called to the scene?
Correct, but they refused it.
If you could walk and were fine, would you want to ride in the ambulance and pay the bill?
I don't know what I would do.
But they did go to the hospital?
Yes they did. After I told her it's our policy she go Kelsey checked out.
Did she go?
Yes she did.
They left the hospital at 2:30am? Kelsey was not looked at? Do you think if
they did not show up for meeting with Ashley the next morning there would be
Its possible. With the Briggs anything is possible.
Come on now, you're around them?
Anything is possible.
Did you call on the 27th?
So you saw her on the 20th and pictures were taken on the 23rd? But you
didn't see the bruises on the 20th and on the 23rd you saw them and took a
Did you call police?
Kelsey had just been to the doctor. Why would I need to call police?
You indicated you were concerned about the bruises?
Why not call the police?
I said she just saw the doctor who looked at her whole body.
If you are at a home where you see abuse, would you take the child into
In some cases.
You could hold the child until officials get there?
Did you do that?
You didn't see abuse did you maam?
No cause she had self-injury in various forms.
All the agencies saw the child an no one took her into custody?
Huddleston presents September calendar.
On September 6th, DHS had a home visit right?
Yes I went to the home.
You also testified about Kelsey having seizures?
Isn't it true, you yourself saw Kelsey have a seizure?
You saw the seizure, tell us what you saw.
I was a Lincoln county courthouse and she was with a grandparent and she bit her tongue and her eyes flickered. It kind of took her a while to wake up. More than you would from normal sleepy time.
Was Raye Dawn present?
Yes she was close by.
Did she do anything to cause it?
When was the next time you saw her?
On August 23rd. She came in with Gayla after the car wreck.
Tell us what you saw.
This time during the seizure she tremmored a little.
It took her longer to come out of her sleep.
Did you tell Dr. Koons about this?
Did she order testing?
Also being tested for her legs too?
Yes had her in for brittle bone testing, hemoglobin, she had a CAT scan that showed normal.
Was the brittle bone requested by Dr Koons?
Correct at the time of death that was inconclusive.
The EEG had been scheduled for November.
Since the CAT scan was normal?
Dr Koons is looking at problems with bruising?
So the child was not only going to a pediatrician, she was going to all of
Not all of them. Grandma had custody. But Raye Dawn was there every time.
Did she cooperate with every request for medical attention?
She always took the child. We also started making referrals for the child's day study.
Was at that your request?
It was the instruction of OCCY, another agency at DHS.
When is the next time you saw Kelsey? On the 7th?
Was she fine?
During this time, how many times did you talk to Michael Porter?
Give me a number?
I met with him during house assessments, strength needs assessment, just many times.
When did you know Michael Porter was going to murder this little girl?
I never knew that.
Redirect - Patti High
Please go back to June of 05, what did you want to have happen with Kelsey
going back to her mother?
I wanted to further assess in a controlled environment what real life is like for the child and the parent.
What about on June 16th?
At that time, the same reason.
In June of 05, where there any referrals of injuries?
On the 24th, where there any referrals of injuries?
At this time, Kathie had guardianship?
And you did not get involved until February?
Are you aware now, Raye Dawn only got supervised visits?
Yes I read that.
During February of 05, where there any injuries?
Not that I am aware of.
In March of 05, Raye Dawn started getting unsupervised visits?
Where there injury referrals then?
In April of 05?
In May of 05?
Yes until she was in our custody on May 3rd.
From May 3rd to the end of May, there were no unsupervised visits with Raye
Where there injuries then?
After June 6th, was the Briggs family allowed to contact Kelsey?
They had 1 scheduled visitation with Ashley.
On June 30th, it was scheduled, did that occur?
After July, did the Briggs family have any contact with Kelsey?
Not that I am aware of.
Were there any reports of injury?
Not that I'm aware of.
Did the Briggs family see her in September?
Kelsey was injured in September wasn't she?
Yes, her eye.
You stated CHBS was supposed to be an extra set of eyes?
And the extra set of eyes of the Briggs were taken away?
On June 16th, did Judge Key invite you into his chambers to ask if he should
give Kelsey back to Raye Dawn?
Not that I am aware of.
(Raye Dawn starts to cry and her lip quivers)
Huddleston referred to you not contacting police?
Did that mistake, not making a call to law enforcement, did that cause
Huddleston referred to actually calling you to make Raye Dawn answer the
phone? Would you agree that until the phone is answered, there is no
We tried to explain that to Ashley. DHS cannot make a person have a phone or answer it. I asked her to comply.
On August 20th, the day after the car accident, did you go out to look at
Do your notes document any signs of red that would lead to a bruise?
I would remember that.
Can you tell me why you wouldn't document that?
So there was no mark on her face on August 20th?
Not that I remember.
Raye Dawn told you Kelsey bruises easier?
And that's why you had the hemoglobin test?
And what were the results?
On August 23rd, you didn't call police? You said she had just been to the
doctor, at that time did you think she had been abused?
The doctor had just looked her over.
In Lincoln county, do you have the authority to remove a child from the home
if you suspect abuse?
We must have a court order.
So you can think a child is abused but can't remove her?
Correct. Not without police or a court order.
So she had a bruise to her eye? She would pick at it until it bled?
Correct. That's why we were getting her into child study center. So we
could look at her emotionally.
So this is not just normal behavior for a 2 year old?
Was there ever a physical reason stated for her seizures?
She was scheduled for an EKG in November.
Ms. Hunter, with the benefit of hindsight, would you have done something
different on August 23rd?
That's all I have.
Patti Jean Bonner Testimony
Are you employed by CHBS?
What is CHBS?
Comprehensive Home Based Services
When did you get involved in this case?
How much time did you spend with the Porters?
On these home visits, they always knew you were coming?
The first, a week after July 7th, was there any out of the ordinary with
Raye or Michael?
Anything unusual about Kelsey?
I would have documented that.
Can you look at your reports and see if you documented that?
*she did not bring the reports to the courtroom - prosecution provides the report**
At your first intake, July 12th, you said there was nothing unusual about
The report says she had a bruise on her forehead and scrapes on her
What explanation did you get for those?
They said she fell off of the riding horse.
Your next visit on July 14th?
The Lincoln county courthouse. There were no other injuries.
When was your next visit?
July 19th, a home visit.
Who was present?
Raye Dawn, Kelsey and Whitney.
So Michael Porter was not there?
Did you notice anything unusual about Kelsey then?
I noted she was malnourished. Raye Dawn said while she was out, Kelsey developed eating and sleeping problems.
When Raye Dawn told you this, did you take it as truth?
So you didn't tell anyone?
I don't recall if I told child welfare.
You had only seen Kelsey since the 1st of July, and it's the 19th. Did you
notice the difference in weight?
Did you make a suggestion?
We discussed nutrition several times.
When do you see her next?
July 26th, a home visit.
Was there anything unusual about Kelsey?
I made notes the skin on her nose was better but not healed because she picked at it.
Did you get concerned? This is not abnormal for a child this age?
Did you notice anything unusual about the family?
They reported Kelsey would get upset if she didn't know where her mom is. While sleeping, she would cry out in terror.
Is this unusual?
Night terrors are unusual.
What did you do about that?
I don't see anything in my notes.
Did you have any further contact with them in July?
Not that I'm aware of.
But you staff with DHS monthly?
Did you in July?
At the courthouse on the `14th.
Did you tell Yolanda about any of the malnourish, night terrors?
On August 9th, I talked to Yolanda.
Did you tell her?
Did your note indicate that?
No. It just says staffing.
When was the last home visit?
I have a note dated August 11th. I can't be certain there weren't others.
What did your note indicate?
Kelsey had a few faded bruises on her leg. I suggested increasing the amount of time Mom could be away from Kelsey without anxiety.
On August 16th, your next visit?
Yes I went to the house and then went with them to Dr Koons.
What did they go for?
Wanted her to gain weight and she had a swelling in her nose like Raye's Dad had to have surgically removed.
That's the only reason, malnourishment? People usually take their child to the doctor for a reason?
A combination; night terrors, anxiety away from Mom, not eating.
Did you witness the anxiety?
Once, Kelsey went to play in her room and came back and Raye was in the kitchen and she seemed anxious.
So she said where was Mom?
No she looked anxious because Mom was not in the chair where she was supposed to be.
Did you think that is normal for a 2 year old?
So you tried to see why Kelsey was anxious?
She didn't want to leave Mommy to go with Grandma.
Did you check to see if she did this with anyone else?
So you just took Raye Dawn's word for it?
Any other contact?
A phone call from Raye Dawn on August 17th.
What was the purpose of the call?
Raye was upset and worried what would happen in court the next day.
She was concerned about Kelsey's visit with her stepmom, Ashley.
The report says Raye Dawn contacted CCM?
That's me the case manager. I offered supportive counseling. She did not feel it was in Kelsey's best interest to have unsupervised visits with Ashley.
On August 18th, there was a court meeting. Did Kelsey go?
Was she in the room?
Usually the hall.
Anything unusual about that court hearing?
Did you have a home visit on August 19th?
Was there anything unusual about Kelsey then?
A bruise on her left cheek.
Did this bruise cause concern?
I'm always concerned when I see bruises.
What was the explanation you received?
Raye Dawn said Kelsey pulled a ceramic lamp off the table and hit her cheek.
Did you file a critical incident report?
Did you call DHS and say Kelsey has a new bruise on her face?
I believe I spoke with Yolanda but not that day. On the 20th perhaps. I left a voice message.
The car accident and the bruise.
Did you discuss your concern in the voice mail?
I don't know. I found out about the car accident on the 20th.
So you saw her on the 23rd? Notice anything unusual?
She had several injuries.
We have seen pictures of these bruises, are these the same bruises you saw
One would be the same, it was faded.
What explanation did you receive for these bruises?
Did Raye call the 20th and tell you about the accident?
Who told you the bruises from the 23rd were from the accident 19th?
When did you next talk to Raye Dawn?
Received a phone call.
They said it had something to do with a CASA worker named Tina?
I don't know Tina.
You are looking at the wrong report. Does this one allow you to know Tina?
Oh yes, Tina was with my same agency doing studies with our medical center. Michael Porter called concerned it was someone from Youth Services trying to
When did you next see them?
A home visit on the 25th.
Was it unusual for you to have Kelsey undress to observe her?
It says you received a phone call from Raye Dawn on the 26th?
No I called her to tell her I couldn't be there. We rescheduled for the 27th at 11 am.
How long were you there?
Was this before or after her visit with Ashley?
So you didn't actually see Kelsey that day?
No But the client verbalized concerns about her being with her stepmom.
What concern about Ashley?
I can't recall.
On September 1st, you made a home visit?
Did you see Kelsey?
So no new problems?
Kelsey had no new injuries this week.
Did you find this week unusual?
The next contact was September 26th?
A home visit.
Was there anything unusual with Kelsey then?
Yes Kelsey had an area under her eye, like a scrape. A crescent shaped scrape.
What was the explanation for this one?
Raye Dawn stated Kelsey got shampoo in her eyes and rubbed it raw with a towel.
So you thought she injured herself?
Did you not think this time of behavior unusual?
Yes a concern.
People don't usually rub their eyes raw with a towel.
Was it a bruise?
No a big reddish brownish scrape.
Did you say anything to Raye Dawn?
Yes I did.
What did Raye Dawn say?
I don't recall.
Did you talk with child welfare? Did you discuss this bruise with Yolanda?
Did she know about that,
I don't recall.
Aside from this injury, was there anything else unusual about Kelsey like
Are you referring to the shoes?
She was wearing platform flip flops. I was told these were the same
shoes she hurt herself in.
Did you say anything to Raye?
Yes I told her to get rid of them.
Did you find it unusual Raye Dawn and Michael Porter did not call you to
tell you about the new injury?
The same people that called about Tina causing trouble but they didn't call
you to tell you about any of Kelsey's injuries?
On September 8th you saw them at court?
Did you express concerns to the judge?
I don't recall.
Did you ever observe Raye Dawn with other children beside Kelsey?
Whitney was at the home sometimes.
Were you concerned?
I don't recall any concerns.
You had concerns on September 6th didn't you?
Tell the jury your concerns.
The injury regarding the eye, the shoes, Kelsey in the street while Raye Dawn went inside for a moment, nutrition, and Raye Dawn verbalized frustration that her 7 year old step child ate all the snacks.
What about the top of the note?
I wrote she favored Kelsey over Bubby and that Kelsey was wearing the shoes again.
So Raye Dawn favored Kelsey over Bubby in dispute?
I noted she complained about Whitney's eating habits and eating all of Kelsey's snacks. She said they were Kelsey's favorite snacks but she could not tell me what were Whitney's favorite snacks.
You had concerns so you called Yolanda?
So after the 6th, when did you see them?
I went with them to Children's Hospital for an appointment.
To Dr Saxxina?
Yes, she lost a pound since the previous visit.
To your knowledge was there any identified problems why she was losing
It was inconclusive.
Why did you talk to Raye Dawn on September 20th?
She called to reschedule because Kelsey had been throwing up.
Did she take Kelsey to the doctor?
She said she was going to.
Did you follow up?
I don't recall.
You rescheduled your visit for the 22nd?
Did you notice anything out of the ordinary with Kelsey?
We talked about how she refused most food and when she did eat she chose to eat candy.
Were there any injuries?
The next time you visit, it's September 27th, what occurred?
I met Raye Dawn and Mildred for another appointment.
The same doctor? Dr. Saxxina?
They said she was not available.
Did this set of tests answer the question from the inconclusive one before?
They said everything was normal?
The blood work came back normal?
On October 6th is your next visit?
Yes a short home visit.
Did you notice anything unusual?
When was the next contact?
On October 11th.
Did you have new information during that meeting?
I don't understand what you are asking.
Did you know Lance Briggs was coming home from Iraq?
Raye told me she heard that he was coming home in 2-3 weeks.
How did you find out?
Yolanda called and said he would be home soon.
In your experience, was that exciting news for Raye Dawn?
How would you describe her reaction?
Did she want supervised or unsupervised visits with Lance?
She said it would not be fair for him to have unsupervised visits because she had not had them in the past.
What time did you go out to the Porter home?
Kelsey had a purple bruise on her cheek, a bandaid on one finger and the little toe on her right foot was red and sore.
Was it usual for Kelsey to have an injury?
What time were you there til?
Was Kelsey alive?
Who did you leave her with?
Raye Dawn, they were on the front porch playing with a turtle. She waved bye to me.
(Raye Dawn started crying)
What time did you learn Kelsey was dead?
Where you were aware of what time Kelsey died?
No I was not.
Cross Examination - Huddleston
Have you met or talked to me before today?
Are you being sued?
Is that why I haven't talked to you?
You met with them on July 19th? What problems were identified?
Kelsey needed to take dietary supplements. I noted she walked by a chair with a tote on it. Pulled against it and the chair fell on her.
Was Kelsey active?
What was she like?
She was always running around and climbing up on her mom's lap.
You witnessed the chair come down but it didn't hit the child?
But if it did it could have bruised her?
How long have you worked for CHBS?
Does this normally happen with young children?
Do things fall and hit kids on accident?
At the end of July you made a home visit with Raye Dawn home with Porter's
kids and Kelsey?
Was it unusual for her to be alone with Porter's kids?
Now once a month the judge would review everything?
And all the agencies were present?
Did the judge ever look at this case?
I do not recall.
(Huddleston presents August 05 calendar)
In August I show 9 different days where CHBS or DHS made visits to Raye
Dawn? Only 11 out 31 days out of the month Raye Dawn was talking with DHS?
That's a lot isn't it?
That's a lot of supervision?
On August 19th you saw a bruise?
From a lamp?
Is it your understanding Michael Porter was along with Kelsey and she pulled
a lamp on her to get that bruise?
Ma'am Michael Porter testified to this and I don't think he has any reason
now to be covering for my client. Did you know anything about this accident?
Only what Raye Dawn and Yolanda told me. They told me Michael Porter's new pick up was totaled. Kelsey was in the car seat and they took her to the doctor.
On September 26th, do you recall you were ill that day?
I don't recall specifically.
On September 6th, you talked a lot about the shampoo and flip flops?
How big was this scrape?
Pretty good size, it covered her eye.
Why wasn't a picture taken of this one?
I don't take pictures.
Did Yolanda take a photo?
I don't know.
Was there ever a marking on Kelsey that would have you call police?
If you went into a home and saw a bruise, wouldn't you get the child and
bring it away and hug it despite protocol?
I think so.
I would hope so. You were around the family a lot? Did you see anything during that time that would make you want to do that?
If a person knocks on your door and you are in this situation where 2
families are feuding, would you let just anyone in your home?
Were they concerned that the Briggs family was watching them?
Yes they did.
Did you feel Raye Dawn was a bad mother?
In October, the 4th, 6th & 7th, DHS was in the home?
So a week before Michael Porter murdered this child, CHBS and DHS was in the
CHBS was there the day Kelsey died?
On the 4th was Kelsey happy?
I noted Kelsey appeared to be happy returning home.
On the 6th was Kelsey happy?
I noted the children were playing and cheerful. There were no signs of abuse or neglect.
On the 11th, describe for me Kelsey.
Raye Dawn and Kelsey followed me out. They were sitting on the porch playing with a turtle. Kelsey waved bye to me.
(Raye Dawn broke down crying and sobbing)
How often were you around Michael Porter?
When did you know Porter would murder Kelsey?
I did not know anyone would kill Kelsey.
Re-direct - Patty High
You said a lot of accusations were flying between the families? That didn't
happen around you?
No Raye Dawn was telling me about it.
Do you ever recall Raye Dawn making Kelsey was out of earshot before talking
about the Briggs?
I do not recall.
Huddleston asked you if you felt Raye Dawn was a bad mother. May I ask you
what is a bad mother?
There are different things.
Why would you say that Raye Dawn is not a bad mother?
I did not see her do anything to be classified as a bad mother.
Would it be fair to say that you didn't know what happened with her when you
are not there?
Do you think maybe you missed something?
I didn't have hindsight then.
You do now. Do you think you missed something now?
I don't know.
Shawnee Police Officer Kelli Vague Testimony - Smothermon
You're trained for motor vehicle accidents?
Describe to me what happened on August 19th involving Michael Porter's car
Mr Porter told me he thought he was okay and Kelsey appeared to
(Smothermon shows pictures of Kelsey 8 days after the car accident)
Looking at all these exhibits, are those injuries consistent with the
accident at the scene?
No. They told me they would go to the hospital.
They refused an ambulance?
Cross Exam - Huddleston
Do you know the term fender bender?
Who made the call for the ambulance?
I cannot be sure. Sometimes it's the person in the car or a witness.
The vehicle driven by Michael Porter was in the intersection?
Going 45 mph?
Did you see skid marks?
So his vehicle was at high velocity?
Probably. He did indicate he let off the gas.
They were hit by another car?
What happened to that car?
They left the scene. An officer that saw the scene followed them.
The other driver was arrested for drunk driving?
So was enough impact to turn a vehicle 180?
I wouldn't want to be in that car would you officer?
No I would not.
Within 5 minutes you were at the scene. Was Raye Dawn shaken?
I do not recall her shaken.
Was she calm for being in an accident?
The driver side had significant impact?
You estimated it at $7000?
Did you know a formal estimate was given of $12000?
That would not surprise me.
You can't say there were no injuries?
I saw no injuries.
You saw no blood?
Is it common for a bruise to come up later?
Is it possible for an accident with the driver going 45 mph for someone to
get a bruise?
It is possible.
Could the bruises come later?
Can you explain?
For example in a domestic abuse case, we can get a call out for someone in pain and get there and it's a little red. Then 2-3 days later, the bruise is more visible.
If you have a force that hits you, you will go toward the force then move
back. Is it possible to get bruises on both sides of the body?
Was the ambulance there when you got there?
I do not recall.
How long did they stay?
The log says 10 minutes.
Is it possible the ambulance could have already checked the people in the
You've seen people not take an ambulance before, right officer?
Do you know what the bill for an ambulance is?
Not exactly but I'm sure it's pricey.
Who told you they would take Kelsey to the ER?
How many times?
At least twice.
Did they do that?
As far as I know.
Have you seen an accident where only one person is hurt?
Re-direct - Smothermon
Did Michael Porter's airbags deploy?
The airbags did not deploy.
Did you see red marks like the one you referenced in your domestic abuse
Based on what you know from motor vehicle accidents, are the injuries in the
state's exhibits consistent with that from a motor vehicle collision?
Annette Swinford Testimony - Smothermon
Where are you employed?
With Lincoln County DHS.
What is your title?
Child Welfare Aid. I transport and supervise visits with the children and their parents.
On May 18th, 2005 were you employed as a DHS aid?
Did you know about the case of Kelsey Smith Briggs?
You monitored a visit?
Who was the visit with?
Is her mother Raye Dawn Smith?
Do you see her in the courtroom?
In this monitor room, a visit between Kelsey and Raye Dawn only?
Can you view the room?
Did they know you could see them?
Kelsey walked in to Raye Dawn and Kelsey said Daddy Mike hurt her head. Raye Dawn laughed and said Daddy Mike couldn't have hurt your head, he hasn't been around you.
Cross Exam - Tim Henderson
Are you watching several rooms?
I was only watching that room.
Was this the only visit going on in Lincoln County courthouse, the one with
Raye Dawn and Kelsey?
Yes the only one I was watching.
Why did you monitor this visit?
Someone has monitor all visits.
You are asking the wrong person. The supervisor was busy so I was told to monitor.
Did you have to monitor anyone else visiting Kelsey?
Did you monitor Kathie with Kelsey?
Is it easy to get a 2 year old to say what you want?
Was Kathie in there first before Raye Dawn?
You're not able to type every word down right?
I would type on the computer everything they said.
So you're not typing verbatim?
So you wrote a report with only 4 lines on it during the hour visit?
I write down anything out of the ordinary.
So you being here, these 4 lines must be very important?
The visit you are talking about took place the 18th?
So she was in DHS custody?
Did you let Michael Porter visit Kelsey between the 3rd & 18th?
He had a visit. I don't know when it was.
You didn't let anyone hurt Kelsey?
So when Raye Dawn said Michael Porter couldn't hurt you, she hadn't seen
Did you immediately call police?
Did you call Raye Dawn?
Did you call Yolanda?
So you just typed down?
Did you call the District Attorney, Richard Smothermon?
Could you tell during this visit that Kelsey and Raye Dawn love each other
Re-direct - Smothermon
Kelsey did not say Daddy Mike hurt me on my head during May 3rd - 18th, did
Should anytime your daughter says Daddy hurt me, should you be concerned?
No further questions.
Eugene Snyder Testimony - Smothermon
Do you know Raye Dawn?
Not personally. I recognize her, I know of her.
The summer of 2004, do you recall an incident?
Please tell the jury this incident.
I pulled up to the Rainbow in Meeker. I noticed a commotion in front of the store. I walked up there and heard loud yelling. I saw Raye Dawn and Kelsey. Raye Dawn was upset with Kelsey and was trying to give her a spanking. Kelsey was naturally trying to sit down and Raye Dawn swatted her 3 times.
How was Raye Dawn hold her?
She was holding her arm up to keep her from sitting down.
How was she hitting her, open handed?
Yes, she was wacking her good. I mean really wacking her.
Do you know Kelsey?
Do you know why she was being spanked?
I don't know what Kelsey did. She was crying.
Then what happened?
She swatted her 3 times and then they went out to the car. I wasn't too alarmed. Sometimes people spank their kids to discipline them. But the disturbing part is when they got to the car she took her and tossed her over the front seat of the car to the back seat.
(Raye Dawn shakes her head in disagreement)
Then I asked the lady at the store what it was all about. It was really
Did you tell police?
Are you aware I made a plea to the public to come forward, if anyone had any
information about this case?
I didn't really know.
So you didn't come to me with this information?
When Kelsey died, did you think it was important enough to go to
Yes I kinda did.
Cross Exam - Huddleston
This was late in the summer 3 years ago?
You knew who Kelsey was, how?
I knew the Smith family.
Did you ever do small engine repair?
Yes I shared a building with Ray Smith, Raye Dawn's father.
Is it true you were kicked out for stealing and embezzling?
No sir that is a complete lie.
Did you know Michael Porter?
But your friend Paul was defending Michael Porter for sexual abuse?
Okay, so I'm confused. Where do you say this took place? In front of the
store? Was Raye Dawn in the store?
In the store, kinda right in front of the doors.
What was Raye Dawn wearing?
I don't remember.
You don't remember?
I can remember what the little girl was wearing. She had on an orange and white jumpsuit. They were in front of one door and I went in another.
So you passed them within inches?
Did you stop?
Yes, I stopped and watched her spank Kelsey.
Did you say anything?
Who else was there?
Lots of people.
So you went to the counter?
So is it likely you had your back to the door?
No I turned with my back to the counter and just watched.
And what did Raye Dawn say?
I don't know what she was trying to do. Raye Dawn carried her out because she was trying to sit down and Raye Dawn threw her over the seat.
But you didn't do anything?
The spanking seem that unusual. I've seen kids get spanked.
So the spanking doesn't bother you?
That's a matter of people's opinion these days.
What kind of car was she driving?
Red as far as my memory serves me, a 2 door car.
Foreign or American?
So you can vaguely remember the color but you can remember it was American?
That's the best I can remember.
So what did you say Raye Dawn did?
(He shows how Raye Dawn carried Kelsey out) Raye Dawn carried her out with one hand under each arm and then slung her over the seat. Kind of like launching her. But the little girl popped back up. I don't think she was hurt.
So with one hand under each of Kelsey's arms she was able to open the door
and then sling her over the seat?
So you were going to be a witness in Michael Porter's case?
I was on the witness list.
Are the only one on this list that saw the event?
I know other people saw it but I don't know if any of them are here.
Did you hear Michael Porter took a plea deal and got 30 years for enabling
I heard he took a plea deal.
Re-direct - Smothermon
Do you know Michael Porter?
I don't know him.
So you are not here to help Michael Porter?
So it's not fair?
No it's not fair, I'm not hear to help anyone. I am here to tell what I saw.
Allison Van Brunt Testimony
(Called to the stand to discuss medical diagnosis and tests - thought some
of them improper)
Dr. Kelli Koon Testimony - Patty High
When was the first time you saw Kelsey?
March 31st, 2005.
How did Kelsey become your patient?
I received a phone call, Mom was concerned of her hair thinning.
What did you see on Kelsey?
There was a large amount of hair loss.
What did you diagnose?
What do think of a child with hair loss?
Do you talk with the Mom about nutrition?
What did she say?
Said Kelsey was a picky eater but nothing in particular.
Mom didn't have nutritional concerns right?
Did Raye Dawn explain Kelsey's history?
She told me she would have Kelsey for the next 24 hours but Kelsey was in a DHS custody battle.
What do you think when you heard DHS was involved in a kid's life?
There is a concern for child abuse.
Can hair loss be child abuse?
Allopecia, can it be related to stress?
What do you know of Kelsey's medical history?
I had notes from Dr. Ketcher and Dr. Obri.
Did you have notes from January 21st?
Yes it indicated a well being check up and bruises. The mother reported Kelsey bruises easy.
What did Dr. Ketcher do?
Decided no alarming bruises but ordered blood tests.
What were the results?
And notes for January 25th?
Kathie Briggs brought Kelsey in for a check-up. She is now in her custody. The doctor says no bruises noted on that doctor visit.
The next visit, February 10th, what did you see this day?
She was having a recheck of her clavicle fracture.
Anything unusual about Kelsey?
On March 22nd?
She was brought in by her Grandma. Nothing new on bruises.
The next time you see Kelsey, March 31st. What did you do to find out about
the hair loss?
Ordered tests to check for nutrition. Raye Dawn says she is still concerned that Kelsey bruises easy.
Did she tell you about bruising from January to March?
We did not timeline bruising. She just said she was concerned.
And what did the tests say?
All tests came back normal.
The next time you see her is April 25th. What was the reason?
Not walking and painful legs.
Who was there?
Mom and not sure about the maternal grandmother. I ordered x-rays from the knees down.
What did it find?
2 tibia fractures.
Any fracture on a child this age is a concern for child abuse. We x-rayed her entire body.
What did you do with your concerns?
I took the films to Dr. Barrett, a bone specialist in my office. I talked to both Raye Dawn and Kathie.
Start with what Raye Dawn told you.
Mom says a week and a half ago and the child went to the zoo. She fell wearing flip flops. They took her to the ER and found a sprained ankle.
And what did the paternal grandmother say?
Kathie says Kelsey would only take 4 steps and say hurt and then she has been crawling since then.
Did you inform Dr. Barrett of your suspicions?
You mean a victim of abuse?
What did Dr. Barrett say?
Dr. Barrett told me the stories were consistent with what I was being told.
If you thought Raye Dawn was the perpetrator would you look at the history
she provided differently?
No, I was suspicious of everyone.
On April 26th, what happened?
Kelsey went to visit Dr. Barrett.
When was the next time you see Kelsey?
August 16th, when we sent her for additional studies.
The genetisis, a bone disorder, a thinning of the bones.
And what happened with this?
Did you rule out child abuse?
What made anyone look at Kelsey for OI?
Pale skin and multiple fractures.
You saw her on August 16th, anything unusual?
A knot on the back of her head.
Did Raye express concerns?
Says Kelsey is biting herself and picking at herself. I suggested an evaluation at a child study center for any underlying emotional issues.
Who did you talk with more often?
The Smith family because they brought her in more.
Raye Dawn made comments saying Kelsey's behavior is getting worse, going back and forth between the families.
Is this stress normal in an ugly divorce?
This one had more anger.
Now that Kelsey's gone do you look at things differently?
I think it is always easier to look back.
Cross Exam - Huddleston
Are you saying your diagnosis is wrong?
Is it true I was not allowed to talk to you?
Are you being sued by the Briggs family?
Is it true attorneys refer clients to doctors all the time?
It's hard to become a doctor isn't it?
Do you have clients and patients?
A lot of people depend on you don't they doctor?
Would you ever jeopardize your practicing license by giving treatment or
statements that are not true?
No I would not.
How do you feel that they brought a previous witness in to detest your
I think anyone would feel poorly if their character was in question.
On January 25th what happened?
The Briggs family took Kelsey to Dr. Obri.
When you got in this case, you said you noticed things going on between
This calendar shows guardianship was filed on January 24th. Then the next
day Kathie takes Kelsey to Dr. Obri. Then Raye Dawn gets her back and takes
her to Dr. Ketcher. Do you find that unusual?
Have you ever had a patient where they are feuding over a child so each side
takes the child to a different doctor?
This would be my first case.
So Raye Dawn brought Kelsey to you on March 31st?
Do you know Dr. Obri?
Is Dr. Obri being sued in this case?
No she is not.
What do you show for March 21st?
I have Briggs took Kelsey to the ER.
On March 31st do you think the loss of hair could have been from stress?
It could be.
Can going back and forth between families be a sign of stress?
You didn't see any sign of hair being yanked out?
No I did not.
Did you know about her ER visit on the 14th?
By history, yes.
When did you know about the ER visit?
Did you get the records?
Have you looked at them since?
Why did you send Kelsey to Dr. Barrett?
She is board certified.
So you think she is a good doctor?
Yes and she could get the child in quickly.
What did Dr. Barrett say?
Dr. Barrett felt the story could be consistent with Raye Dawn's story.
Dr. Barrett thought this was from falling on a flip flop but they could have been in a different time frame.
How did you take that?
She is a medical expert. I have no reason to disagree.
Do you doctor have an ethical duty to notify about child abuse?
Did you contact police?
I did contact them on March 21st about our findings that day.
You wanted the OI test done?
Was it ever ruled out?
These fractures, did you look at the x-rays?
Did you know if Dr. Barrett contacted police?
Not to my knowledge.
On May 2nd, Dr. Sullivan saw Kelsey?
Not to my knowledge.
Has Dr. Barrett ever changed her opinion as to the diagnosis?
Not to my knowledge.
When Kelsey was taken to Dr. Barrett, the casts were taken off?
I do know that.
When Kelsey goes back to Dr. Barrett on the 6th, the casts were put back on?
On August 16th, did you know DHS and CHBS were meeting all the time?
No I did not.
But CHBS came to all the visits?
Yes I documented that.
So this child had been through a lot?
Yes she had.
And this is just 60 days from the time she was returned to mom? According to your timeline. And Jean Bonner recommended child study?
No I recommended that. Play therapy allows psychologist help the child work through issues.
Did you see any abuse on August 16th doctor?
No I did not.
Did you write you think Kelsey bruises easier?
I do stand by the fact that Kelsey bruises easier than kids her age. I established a doctor's appointment at Children's Hospital with the hematologist.
Doctor, the bottom line, you saw Kelsey on numerous occasions?
But never went to court for abuse?
You never went to CASA?
And Raye Dawn did everything she could for the welfare of Kelsey?
Re-direct - Patti High
You say Raye Dawn did everything for the welfare of Kelsey, why?
She brought her to all the appointments and acted appropriately in my office.
From January 24th to March 11th, she only had supervised visits with Kelsey.
Are you aware there were no injuries during that time?
No I wasn't.
Were you aware injuries began when they went into unsupervised visits?
No I was not.
Were you ever told about a bruise on her nose?
A bruise on her thigh?
A bruised rib cage?
No I was not told.
So you were not given information?
It would have been nice to know.
Are you told about any injuries in July?
No only the ones in my office.
Did anyone tell you about the shampoo injury?
The other list of injuries?
So is it safe to say your opinion may be based on opinions without all the
My opinion is only based on information I could obtain in my office.
Would you believe Dr. Sullivan might be right now?
It is of high suspicion.
Did you ever tell Kathie Briggs that your uncle was representing Raye Dawn
Don't you think she would want to know before she gave you information?
Judge tells jury they expect the case to conclude next week.
July 16, 2007
Written By: Britten Follett
April 14, 2005 X-Rays @ Unity South
April 25, 2005 X-Rays @ Shawnee Hospital
May 2, 2005 X-Rays @ OU Medical Center
James Andy Sullivan Testimony
Dr. Sullivan is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who takes care of broken bones and diseases in muscular systems in children. He works for OU Children’s Hospital and had 31 years of experience in pediatrics.
On May 2nd, 2005 did you have the opportunity to meet Kelsey Smith Briggs?
And who brought her in?
Kathie Briggs brought Kelsey in, with someone else and I don’t remember who that was.
I asked for her history and Kathie told me she hurt herself at the zoo in her platform shoes and developed a break in her other leg. She did not tell me anything about an ongoing child abuse investigation at that time.
So you looked at the x-rays?
And what did you find?
Well I should say we see a lot of child abuse and we are required by law to report it and you don’t want to accuse someone unnecessarily. But it was my suspicion that this was child abuse. Then Kathie told me about the other incidents.
Why child abuse?
Upon inspection, there are several things we consider when discussing
child abuse, multiple fractures, a suspicious story, different stages of healing, and the pattern of the fracture. If you grab a hold of a bone and twist it, it creates a spiral fracture.
In this case what did you see?
1. Broken clavicle 2. Different stages of healing in the legs, one more advanced in healing.
3. Suspicious story, I’ve never seen a child break a leg because of her shoes, in 31 years I’ve never seen it.
Why did you take her casts off?
Kids are wonderful, these bones were not displaced, they were already in a state of healing, when you press on it, it does not hurt. So it was my recommendation she did not need casts, she had been put in casts from her toes, up over her knees.
How did you leave things with Kathie?
I asked if this has been reported and if it was under investigation.
Smothermon puts xrays in lighted machine
May 2nd-These are the xrays showing her knees, ankle and thigh bone and it shows a crack in the bones running down the shin.
Did you examine the old xrays?
April 25th-What do you see on these?
Same injuries, you can see a white part of the bone where the fracture is healing.
April 14th-And what do you see in these xrays?
These are just of the ankles, it shows the bottom half of the shin bone and
you cannot see fractures on these films.
What could cause spiral fractures, non child abuse related injuries?
If someone says their child has a sprained ankle and they saw them running in the yard and step in a whole and their whole body twists.
What child abuse related injuries could cause spiral fractures?
If a parent is angry with a child, and grabs the leg or arm and twists or slings the child. That could cause the bone to twist and crack.
Let’s talk about brittle bone disease, what does that mean?
Usually people with the disease are born with weak bones, do not have enough vitamin C, usually the fractures show up on xrays, it’s typically an inherited disease, so you have to look at the child’s history, the whites of the eyes are usually affected, they have bad teeth. There is generally no way of doing a 100% conclusive test, blood work will not work.
Does Kelsey have any symptoms that would make you think she had brittle bone disease?
No. This is something we see repeatedly and we are very careful before making this diagnosis, so I showed Kelsey’s xrays to three other doctors.
Dr. Steumke is a pediatrician. I told him about the platform shoe explanation and he said it was child abuse. I showed it to Dr. Leonard, a radiologist and he said child abuse. I sent it through as a regular xray and the radiologist said, “must suspect non accidental trauma”. That’s doctors with 90 years clinical experience.
You testified on June 16th?
Would you testify the same as you have here?
Any doubt in your mind this was child abuse?
Is there any way of telling when the breaks occurred?
There’s no way you can accurately date a fracture. The first xrays showed no fracture, the 2nd shows them, it’s not unusual in a break like this for the fracture not to show up right away on xray.
Cross Examination Steve Huddleston
Doctor on May 2nd, 2005 you saw Kelsey with Kathie Briggs, she brought you the April 14th and the 25th xrays?
But the facts you were given came solely from Kathie Briggs?
Did you contact anyone to substantiate?
Did she say anything about growth plates?
I don’t remember. It wouldn’t be unusual for someone to say that because generally physicians are concerned about growth plates.
She gave you Dr. Barrett’s diagnosis?
Yes. She told me the right leg was injured in the flip flops and the left leg overcompensation.
And you do not agree with Barrett’s diagnosis?
So you have two doctors with two different diagnosis?
Actually 5 doctors. 4 doctors versus 1.
Okay, from numbers speaking, we have two opinions?
Did you contact Dr. Barrett?
I attempted to call her after Kelsey’s death.
You’ve looked at the xrays from the 14th?
So we have the time between the 14th and the 25th, do you have any personal
knowledge of what that child was doing?
Who she was with?
No. Kathie Briggs gave me some information about who had the child.
Did you get the impression there was a custody issue?
You see a lot of child abuse?
Not uncommon in custody issues?
I see it.
Non displaced fractures, what does that mean?
It hasn’t moved very far from its original location.
Crack in both legs?
Type of fracture that would heal on its own?
The right leg would have healed on its own?
You cut the casts off?
Dr. Barrett casted her legs on the 25th or the 26th and you removed the
on the 2nd?
Did you know the child was returned back to Dr. Barrett who put the casts back on?
I understand that to be the case.
You talked about OI, brittle bone disease, is it true it was not ruled out?
I was under the impression she had a skin graph that was not consistent with OI.
I remember that report as being inconclusive?
I don’t know then.
You testified callus (the healing of the bone) can form and be visible in an xray between a week and 10 days?
Huddleston pulls out calendar of April 2005
You agree one leg occurred before the other?
Both in a state of healing?
Callus does not form over night?
Not visible in xrays.
So neither could have happened on the 24th?
Not likely. But it’s not an exact science, somewhere in the range of 7-10 days is where the injury occurred.
You saw it on both legs?
So it could not have happened on the 22nd, 23rd, or 24th?
If it takes 6-10 days to show up, so it happened on the 18th or the 19th?
Actually it could have occurred between the 15th and the 18th, is the most likely time that it occurred.
That the left leg occurred?
Then let’s talk about the right leg. So the right leg would have had to occur long before that?
I’m almost certain the right leg was broken at the time of the ER visit on the 14th.
It’s not unusual for ER doctors not to notice a fracture?
Let’s say it’s not child abuse and parents say Bill or Susie fell in a hole and they take her to the doctor. The pediatrician sees nothing on the xray, but kids don’t sprain ankles, so if you examine a child and press over a bone
and a child cries, I don’t need an xray.
So the right leg could have been broken on the 14th?
Almost certainly when the child went into the ER it was broken.
Dr. Sullivan gets confused about dates during this line of questioning.
Your job is not to determine who committed the child abuse, but if I told you Kathie Briggs had the child from the 4th through the 14th, who do you think did it?
I don’t know exactly when it happened. Let me back up, I need an accurate
history. If the fracture occurred when she started limping, at whatever point the child had pain and refused to walk, that’s when the injury occurred, children do not lie.
What if I told you at 9 am on the 14th, the child was fine, she went to the zoo and started limping?
Then she got hurt on the 14th.
When the Briggs came to talk to you about this did she tell you when she had Kelsey?
Not part of my record.
If you knew that now, would you have given the child back to her?
I don’t have that power, that decision is made by other people.
It is policy you are not to return the child to the perpetrator?
This case has caused me a great deal of grief, my belief is that the the child should not have gone back with her mother. I tried to contact Dr. Barrett to tell her she missed the diagnosis. I tried to testify in the June 16th hearing but was only allowed to give a deposition. Had I testified I would have told the judge I did not recommend she go home with Raye Dawn.
I’m not blaming you, I’m just trying to point out the fact she didn’t give you that information?
I knew what Kathie Briggs had told me and the xrays.
This is a report from the University of Washington, it says her cells had been sent there to test for OI, can you explain for me the finding?
It is dated June 1, 2005 and says it is unable to exclude OI they can’t say for certain, but found no evidence it was.
So just to clear up, since even I am confused about the dates, you believe the injury occurred around the 14th when the child started complaining of pain?
The other fracture you could pin it between the 15th and the 18th?
As best we can pin it down, yes.
Do you believe it happened as a result of her falling on flip flops?
No I do not.
Dr. Robert Block Testimony
Dr. Block is a professor of pediatrics at OU Medical Center in Tulsa. He is also the chair of Pediatrics and has been in the profession for 32 years. He says child abuse and neglect was until recently, only an area of interest, but he has been dealing with that area of work for the last 25 years both in Tulsa and nationally. Recently the board has certified child neglect and abuse a sub-specialty. Dr. Block says he has trained DHS workers, law enforcement, district attorneys and doctors in the field.
Did you examine Kelsey’s case during your position on the Child Death Review Board?
I can’t reveal that.
At my request?
Yes. When I did the review I had medical records from a variety of medical sources and two autopsies.
Did I voice any desired conclusions?
No. And I would not have accepted that.
Is child abuse a diagnosis?
Yes it is, physicians who do not deal with it will indicate that an injury without defining it.
When you deal with child abuse regularly, we can code we can bill, it’s not a requirement for reporting, I can only report it as a suspicion, not a
diagnosis. Medicine is important in this step because we can determine accidental versus inflicted.
In January of 2005 were you provided photos of those bruises?
The two visits to the ER between the 10th and the 14th, was that significant?
Significant because the first visit for the collar bone is not significant in itself, due to the frequency of accidental breaks, but the bruises? When you see a second incident, it should make you rethink the first.
Puts the pictures of the 14th on overhead projector.
Why are these bruises suspicious?
The abrasions are not in a place where you usually would see them, the backsides of babies are padded, the nature of her left side bruises, they are a point like patterned injury.
Could this have been caused by falling on a hairbrush?
You might have a little scrape, but this is over a wide area.
Was she struck on a diaper?
A diaper would absorb the blow and you would not be able to see the abrasions,
maybe a bruise.
How about the injury to the thing?
While not a huge bruise, it does not have any distinct boundaries and more importantly it’s just there as part of a variety of injuries in a short period of time.
Take a look at this picture of Kelsey playing do you see any bruises?
I definitely see facial bruises along her forehead and her cheek.
Do they match Dr. Griffin’s notes?
Are the bruises higher on the forehead concerning?
When children fall they head their forehead usually, but as part of the greater picture, they are concerning.
How about the ones on the side of the face and cheek?
Not likely accidental.
How about the bruise on the bridge of the nose?
Not without reason to believe it could happen by falling, but it usually hurts like the dickens.
If a child had been struck in the middle of the night, while sleeping with another child how would a child react if she got this injury?
She would cry. But any of us who have shared a bed with another have been poked or prodded and don’t end up with massive injuries.
What is a bruise?
An injury to the tissue under the skin, leaking of blood into the tissue. It usually takes 24 hours to develop and days to resolve.
Can you date bruises?
In the late 90’s studies show we are no longer able to date a bruise with any specificity, we do know it takes several hours for a bruise to evolve. For those of us who look at them we can generally tell a new bruise versus an old bruise.
How about abrasions, are they hard to date?
There are no published standards for abrasions, everyone here has skinned their knee. It’s almost impossible to tell how long scabs have been on children because they usually pick and eat them.
Can you tell a fresh scrape versus and old one?
Yes, by the organization of the scab and whether it bleeds.
The legs incident on April 14th, are you aware of Dr. Barrett’s diagnosis?
Yes. It indicates correctly that both legs are fractured and based on history she received them falling on platform shoes and overcompensation.
Are these explanations consistent with the literature?
This is the first time I’ve heard this explanation for these types of fractures. I’ve never heard a child could trip and fall down from ground to ground and see those fractures that long. There is no evidence, no reports of a compensation injury that would look like these fractures. I don’t believe that’s at all what happened.
Dr. Sullivan, are you familiar with his report?
Yes, I agree with it.
First of all I respect him as the leading pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the region. And the spiral nature of the fractures make me more concerned of twisting force even a blow that would cause the body to twist.
They are not consistent with toddler fractures?
You say they are in different stages of healing?
They could be, but they also could be healing at their own pace. I can’t date the injuries it could be a couple of days to a couple of weeks. The general guideline for new bone formation is that they could have occurred at the same time or close to each other.
Does the history of the fall at the zoo or overcompensation explain the fractures?
How about OI?
OI has been known as genetic issue that evolves over time. It’s important a child abuse physician knows some children fracture easily. But it’s difficult to know for sure. I could suspect it by looking at a patient, by inspecting her teeth and eyes. Bones in OI cases break in a certain way, certain bones are more likely to break.
Did Kelsey have OI?
As far as I could tell, it’s my opinion, she did not have OI. The nature of her fractures would be hard to find with OI, we would be seeing other fractures. Like the clavicle was probably caused when she put her arm
down to catch herself, so both bones would be broken.
Did Kelsey bruise easily?
The concept of bruising easily is not a provable concept. People bruise based on injury. Sometimes it’s easier to see bruises due to fair skin. If someone
has a lot of bruises it’s dangerous to assume they bruise easily. Someone who has a bleeding disorder would bleed into other areas.
So if Kelsey has more bruises that means she got injured more?
Battered child syndrome, what is that?
It’s a term coined in the 60’s prior to the 60’s we didn’t talk much about child abuse. Doctors would look at OI, think they were accidents and that the child bruises easily.
When you look at Kelsey’s life and death is Battered Child Syndrome an option?
Yes, it fits. It’s a pattern where doctors are encouraged to consider child abuse with the bruises and injuries. In Kelsey, there were a number of concerning injuries, bruising, bleeding problems were ruled out, other medical conditions ruled out, and she had some bruises in unusual places, she had alopecia, a vague condition where her hair fell out for no particular reason, usually due to high stress.
Does it concern you that in March of 2005 she weighed more than at her death?
It raises the issue of child abuse.
You never had the opportunity to personally examine Kelsey?
Your first contact with her was in May of 2007?
You knew she was murdered?
You don’t have any first hand knowledge Raye dawn Smith abused this child?
No first hand knowledge.
Do you know that Michael Porter murdered and sexually abused Kesley?
You train all of these people in child abuse, you’re the most highly trained person in Oklahoma?
Does Dr. Griffin have more experience?
With all of your training and experience can you ever be 100% a bruise is caused by an abuse or an accident?
There are occasions, yes.
The collarbone, could it be an accident?
No child abuse alarm?
Is every bruise an injury?
But you’d agree with me not every bruise is abuse?
In a perfect world would every injury be considered with an eye for child abuse?
It should be on the doctor’s mind. We look at witnesses, explanations, differential diagnosis, which means does the mechanism of the injury match the injury, is there a medical condition if there is no history.
So if it makes sense?
If it makes sense in the context of the medical history.
If a physician suspects child abuse, he had to report it for investigation, that’s a pretty low standard, suspicion?
Lower than knowing for sure.
Henderson gave several examples of instances where his children were taken to the ER for accidents.
We could look at every injury in a child as abuse, but is it fair to say you look at something with a different eye?
I look at medicine, knowing accidents happen.
OI, did she have it? Is someone telling her we need to check for OI?
What should her mom think then? She may have OI? Would that put a damper on her suspicions?
I don’t understand the question. Might that seem reasonable, if a doctor tells
you your daughter may have OI, that would be an explanation?
Not to suspect something else?
If she trusts her doctor.
And they could not rule out OI? That’s the information given to her. It takes a period of time to get tests done, if a doctor is telling the mother her child bruises easily should she believe it?
That’s what Dr. Koons told her in September of 2005. Were you aware Dr. Koons says Kelsey bruised easier?
Should Raye Dawn rely on that statement?
The most complete answer, brings in what the patients parent knew of what was causing the bruises. I don’t agree with her doctors statement. She might have been happy she heard that she bruised easily when she knew that wasn’t what was causing the abuse.
But it’s what Raye Dawn was told by her doctor?
Are you aware of the Exersaucer spiral fractures study?
Was the over compensation Dr. Barrett’s idea?
That’s my understanding.
Dr. Sullivan says it takes 6-10 days for callus to form, do you agree?
Did you see the pictures taken of the police department of the crib and slide?
There is only a small percentage of clavicle fractures caused by abuse.
The story was plausible?
I don’t believe anyone saw that incident.
Could the bruise to the bridge of her nose be caused by falling?
Would you trust someone you love?
Dr. Yacoub, are you familiar with her?
She says you can’t trust the color of a bruise that it might take several
hours for a bruise to show up?
Have you seen the pictures of the abrasions on her back side?
Can you make any determination based on mechanism?
We would have some ideas but not for sure without being there.
Could they be scratches?
That’s within the possibility. It would not be my first choice.
Were the abrasions a recent injury? Like within 4 hours?
No, older than four hours because there is scabbing.
If a child was in a daycare, is it possible she could get scratches?
We don’t have 20/20 hindsight, that doctor has to deal with information they have right now, it is fair to say knowing what you know now?
They have to judge what they know at the time and use the history.
You testified in a civil case for some doctors in La Platta, MD who are being sued for not recognizing child abuse. You say these doctors were not negligent?
I don’t have three hours to give you detail, but they are suing over whether
a doctor did or did not do a CT scan and the allegation is that it might not have been normal. It was a shaken baby case and there are many different variables.
Are you testifying in the Briggs civil case?
I have not been approached.
Were the doctors medically negligent?
I don’t know. I need more information.
Didn’t you read the whole case file?
I would need to talk to the doctors.
Sexual child abusers are somewhat secretive, wouldn’t you say?
Are they trying to hide what they’re doing?
Is it okay to spank?
I do not believe corporal punshiment is the best option, but I don’t think you want to go there Mr.Henderson.
As hard as you darn well please but if you cause a bruise that will be child abuse.
So you can spank them, hit them, but when it causes injury then it’s abuse?
That’s the law.
Is accident a possibility for the bump on her nose?
A scrape on her elbow?
Do children get injuries in car seats?
Child car seats are not like seat belts in a car correct?
Do straps refrain the head from going back and forth?
It might take hours for the bruises to appear?
The DHS worker says a chair fell over on Kelsey, could that have caused a bruise?
Can doctors be judge by 20/20?
We learn a lot from our cases about what we know now. We are not judging doctors right now, so I don’t know where we’re going with this.
You’ve taken it from the end and looked over the entire case?
I’ve taken it from the beginning and the end.
If you see a scratch would you call it abuse or an accident?
What if I told you a cat scratched a child?
What about a dog bite would you be able to tell if that’s a dog bite or an accident?
I think we could tell.
Henderson shows Block pictures of Kelsey asking if he can see the bruises and if they are injuries. He says yes. The jury and the audience do not see these pictures.
If a doctors opinion is based on what a mother is telling her, could that affect her decision?
There is an importance, because you can only base your opinion on the information given.
Mr. Henderson gave you an example out of his life why is that different that Kelsey’s case?
Individual injuries could be accidental, some are very minimal, but the decision at any given time a doctor should be considering the overall
picture, where you would have to have a firm belief that all of these things are not otherwise explainable, and not usual for children who are just frolicking around, it’s not normal for a child to have two broken legs. You have to take the case as a whole and see the pattern.
A mother sees her child more frequently than a doctor, correct?
Do mothers, in your opinion, get way more concerned about childhood injuries?
The state rested its case at 12:00 pm on July 16, 2007. Huddleston asked for a demur saying the state did not provide enough evidence. The motion was overruled and the judge told the jury to be back at 1:30pm.
Defense Begins Case
Gayla is Raye Dawn’s mom and was Kelsey’s grandmother.
Ms. Smith please give me a little background on your daughter.
How many children do you have?
My husband had 3 and we had three together, so a total of 6.
How many grandkids do you have?
9 with Kelsey.
Do they run and jump and play?
Yes. One of my granddaughters broke her collarbone 2 times.
When Lance and Raye Dawn were married, how would you describe the marriage?Good?
Hard feelings when they divorced?
Hard feelings with the other family?
From both sides?
Kelsey was born December of 2002, where was Raye Dawn living?
In my house with my husband, me, Kelsey, and Rachelle.
And why was Raye Dawn staying at home?
My husband had a stroke and cancer and so did my father, and she was helping me take care of them.
After Kelsey started walking, was she active?
Very active, she wanted us to chase her. Kelsey was always doing something.
When did Raye move out?
August of 2004.
Because she just felt it was time for her and Kelsey to have their own space
because her dad and grandfather had died.
Just her and Kelsey?
Where did they live?
5 miles away.
How often did they come over?
All of the time. Sometimes I would stop over there.
How often did Rachelle and Curtis visit Raye Dawn?
All of the time. She was close to her cousins too.
So she was constantly around people in the Smith family?
The Briggs have a big family too?
You know them, it’s big?
Did Raye have a nice apartment?
Was it clean and well kept?
Being around your daughter and Kelsey, how did Raye Dawn abuse her?
She would spat her on the hand. As she got older Raye would count to three and if she made it to three Kelsey would be in trouble, so Raye Dawn would say one and Kelsey would finish and say “2,3” and Raye would get tickled and couldn’t stay mad.
Did you see anything out of the ordinary about the way she disciplined Kelsey?
There were no referrals prior to January 14th?
Not to my knowledge. Nothing like this.
Do you know Eugene Snyder, he testified on Friday?
Yes, my husband worked with him in his small shop.
Did something happen with him?
My husband told him to leave because there was money missing.
So he testified that Raye Dawn was driving a red car, was she driving that?
NO. In 2004 she was driving a Ford Explorer.
Snyder says he saw Raye Dawn throw Kelsey over the seat?
We had you measure it; it is true it would be difficult to throw a child over that seat?
When did your daughter meet Mr. Porter?
October of 2004.
Was she dating a lot before then?
Just her and Kelsey?
So then she meets Mr. Porter, did you know him?
What was your first impression?
Nice guy, he had a business, he cared for his parents, he would be a good provider for Raye Dawn.
How much was Raye making at Lewis Manufacturing?
$7.75 an hour.
And Mr. Porter had a college degree?
He told us he did.
After October 11, 2005, what did you find out?
His house had been foreclosed on.
Mr. Porter says Raye Dawn and him were keeping that from you? Do you believe that?
Other financial problems?
Hot checks. And I don’t believe he graduated from college. And he had cashed in his IRA in September of 2005.
After July of 2005 he says he had witnessed Raye Dawn beat Kelsey and he kept his kids away, was that true?
Was she always with his kids?
From October of 2004-2005, did he have any tendencies that would lead you to believe he would murder your grand child?
Was Porter around in January?
How did you find out about the collarbone?
I was on my way to pick up a car in Nebraska when I think my mom called to tell me.
What did you learn about January 14th?
Lance and Ashely had taken her to the ER, and Raye Dawn told me that night or Saturday morning.
When was the next time you saw Kelsey?
The 17th. I went down to the police department.
What were you doing for a living?
I worked at Leedar Inc. And my husband had a small bridge building business.
Did you tell your daughter before you went down there that she needed a lawyer?
Did you see Kelsey on the 17th?
I seen some fainted bruises.
The photos we’ve seen were not real light?
I did not see them on her.
Do you know what happened to Kelsey on January 14th?
You weren’t present, you can’t speak to it?
January 24, 2005 Kathie Briggs filed for guardianship, how did that make you feel?
Very angry, mad.
Were you still able to see Kelsey?
Did you get a call between the 17th and the 24th from the Briggs?
Were you aware the police department cleared her?
When you went down there on the 17th, what was they doing?
The officers were writing.
Were they doing an investigation?
I don’t know what they were doing.
Did they go to Raye Dawn’s apartment?
Did you have any concerns?
Do you believe your daughter had abused Kelsey?
Did you feel the Briggs was happy with the custody?
No. I felt they were trying to take her away from Raye Dawn. We were constantly going to court.
Huddleston shows picture of calendar February 2005
So the judge ruled Raye Dawn had supervised visits on February 4th from 6 pm Friday through noon Monday. What does supervised mean?
I had to be there, or my mom.
Did you get to go to the Briggs house?
Was Kelsey happy?
Huddleston shows jury a picture taken that day at the Briggs house.
Did you have a good visit with Kelsey?
Was it hard for Raye Dawn to leave?
Was it hard on your daughter to only see Kelsey on the weekends with someone else present?
Huddleston shows picture of calendar March 2005
In March was Raye Dawn contacted by DHS?
Yes to take classes every Monday and Tuesday.
Was she working?
Did she ever miss a class?
Who decided the visitation schedule?
In March what did he decide?
Friday at 6 until noon Monday she was with Raye Dawn and again between noon Wednesday and noon Thursday.
So now Raye has unsupervised visits on the weekend?
Kelsey is going back and forth?
Is that stressful?
Emotions ratched it up?
Do you think Kelsey knew?
Ms. Briggs took Kelsey to doctor Obright, correct?
Did she tell you?
From January to March Kelsey had been away from her mother for 7 weeks?
On March 24th DHS called because Kelsey had been taken to the ER for a bruise on her nose.
Did you see it?
When she was returned to Raye Dawn, she took Kelsey to see Dr. Koons? Why?
Because her hair was falling out.
What was Kelsey’s attitude?
She was not the same.
Because she was going back and forth?
Do you think that’s why she was losing hair?
Huddleston shows picture of calendar April 2005
On April 4th another complaint was filed, for a bruise on her thigh? Did you see it?
No. She was back with the Briggs.
April 14th and 25th, she had two broken legs, were you around?
Who had Kelsey on the 14th?
My daughter in law.
She went home with Curtis and Miste on the 14th, Raye Dawn spent the night with her daughter?
And Miste picked her up around 9 am for the zoo?
Did your daughter go to the zoo?
Do you know from being around what happened to Kelsey?
She sprained her ankle. Miste brought her by work and called DHS and took her to the emergency room.
Was Kelsey seen by a doctor?
Were xrays taken?
After the ER?
They took her by Kathie at the ball field.
From 9 am on the 14th was Raye Dawn alone with Kelsey on the 14th?
How long did Kelsey stay with Kathie?
Over night. Miste and Raye Dawn took her to DHS the next morning, when they got back home Melissa and Sierra stayed over that night.
Was Miste in the home?
On the 16th, what happened?
She went to a birthday party and spent the night. Miste brought her home on the 17th.
ON the 18th, Raye Dawn and Mike got married. From you being around Kelsey what was her condition?
She was limping.
Did you hold her?
Was her left leg injured?
Huddleston shows jurors a picture of Kelsey at Pott County courthouse.
Was she going up steps? Was she having a good time?
Picture of Kelsey on courthouse steps
What is she doing here?
Standing on the courthouse steps.
She had turned her ankle.
After the wedding what happened?
I went back to work and Raye Dawn, Mike and Kelsey went to meet Janet at the mall.
Was Kelsey returned to Kathie Briggs on the 18th?
Yes, at 5.
Is Raye still taking classes? She took them the night of the wedding?
Did she ever miss?
From the 18th through the 21st, Kathie Briggs has her?
When Raye got her back what was her condition?
She was crawling.
Did you take her to the doctor?
I told her to walk on it because that’s what Raye Dawn told me.
When you got her back what were you thinking?
Kathie told us she took 4 steps and would not walk.
Did you try to get her to walk?
The xrays on the 25th, did you and Raye Dawn take her to Dr. Koons?
Yes. Raye Dawn called me and told me, mom Kelsey won’t walk, so I told her to take her to the doctor. DHS said they would deal with Kathie and also told her to take her to the doctor.
Did she try to hide Kelsey on either the 14th or the 25th?
Hide her from DHS?
Dr. Koons came back and said Kelsey had two leg fractures, what did you think?
I had no idea. I didn’t know what to think, she had been with everybody.
Did you like Dr. Koons?
Are you familiar with the referral that was made?
No. All I know was that she had two broken legs.
Did you believe the doctor?
Yes. No reason not to.
Was DHS involved?
Did the doctor call the police?
Did DHS take Kelsey away?
Who came up with the visitation schedule?
On April 28th, did anything unusual happen?
My grandmother passed away.
Do you remember Kelsey crying uncontrollably wanting her mom while she was at the Briggs house?
Did the Briggs start calling you?
Yes. They wanted Rayed Dawn to come to their house.
Have you ever had that happen with a child?
Did she go over there?
Did Kelsey calm down?
And the Briggs had her the rest of the month?
On May 2nd, Kathie took her to Dr. Sullivan?
He says they were abuse?
And Kelsey was taken away from everybody?
Yes. They put her with me.
Did anyone have unsupervised visits?
No. All at DHS.
Did Dr. Sullivan cut the casts off?
What was her condition?
She was crawling and crying.
Did Dr. Barrett put the casts back on?
Did it make her feel better?
Raye Dawn was unable to see her?
In May did she start getting better?
Yes.She got to where she could walk in the casts.
Did Kelsey ever get bruises with you?
Yes, on her elbows and stuff.
Why didn’t you report that?
I didn’t see any reason to.
How did the DHS visits go?
They would pick her up from daycare for the visits.
A DHS worker says Kelsey told her mom, Daddy Mike hurt my head, did anyone tell you that?
Had Porter been alone with Kelsey?
Huddleston pulls out June calendar
So you had full custody of Kelsey until June 15th?
Your daughter had not been alone with Kelsey for six weeks?
Judge Key found an unknown perpetrator?
Did he order supervision?
But he did order in home visits with DHS, CASA, CHBS?
In July Kelsey was with her mom?
And besides, DHS and CHBS was the Smith family around her?
Yes. Lots of family gatherings.
Lots of supervision?
Yes. DHS and them was always around her.
How did that make Raye Dawn feel?
I’m sure she didn’t like it. I didn’t like it.
How would you feel?
I would be mad, angry.
What did they do on the visits?
They would check to see how Kelsey was dressed, what she was eating, how the house looked, where she was going, what she was doing.
Would that upset you?
It would any mother.
But she accepted it?
She had a better attitude than I would have.
So again there was a whole lot of involvement in August. Was the family involved?
Did Raye have friends over?
The August 19th car wreck happened, did you know a lamp fell on her?
Did a drunk driver hit them in the accident?
Was it a pretty significant crash?
About 9:30 pm.
Did Kelsey have a bruise on the 23rd?
Did DHS take a picture of it?
Did DHS take her away?
Was the police called?
In September Kelsey had strep throat?
Was she getting better?
Starting to be more like the old Kelsey?
October 11, 2005 what happened?
Michael Porter called me around 3:10 or 3:15 in the afternoon, at work, saying Kelsey wouldn’t wake up. I told him to call 911.
What did you do?
I left work and telling them something’s wrong with Kelsey.
And when you got there?
I grabbed her from Mike and started down the driveway to meet the first responders saying, “Kelsey Kelsey wake up Mommy will be here in a minute.” She squeezed my hand. I handed her to the first responders and then relatives started to show up. That’s when Raye Dawn showed up screaming, mom what’s the matter with her.
What did you think had happened to her?
She had a seizure.
Why a seizure?
I had never seen her have a seizure, that’s what Mike told me.
What does the house look like?
It’s 4.5 miles east of Meeker on the top of a hill.
Set away from the road?
Huddleston shows jurors pictures of house and kitchen counter.
So it’s a long driveway?
Yes. I pulled up to the top of the hill and took Kelsey down to the first responder.
Is this the counter Mike laid her down to put the pull up on her?
What was going on outside?
We were screaming for them to get a helicopter. But they told us they had to take her to the closest place which was Prague hospital.
Is Prague where Kelsey passed away?
Was Michael Porter at the hospital?
What was he doing?
Just walking around.
Did he pass out?
Two days later Raye Dawn was questioned by OSBI?
Did you hire her an attorney?
Did she fully cooperate?
Did she make more than one statement?
Did she request an autopsy?
She wanted to know what was wrong with Kelsey.
Has she cooperated with the police?
Has this put a lot of pressure on your family?
Have you had harassing phone calls?
A constant stream of pressure?
And Raye Dawn was not charged until 4 months later?
Cross Examination Pattye High
Eugene Snyder, let’s talk about what you told the jury a few minutes ago about that.
Is it true your daughter drove a red Pontiac Firebird?
In high school.
So she did drive a red car?
And these photos you took with the measurements, they do not involve a red car at all?
So the measurements are not accurate?
Those hot checks you mentioned Michael Porter wrote, when were those?
I don’t remember.
Were you there when they were written?
How did you find out about them?
When I was going through the house.
But they were written when your daughter was still Raye Dawn Porter?
So you don’t know if your daughter wrote them?
The IRA’s he cashed in?
I seen the stubs of them.
But beyond seeing the stubs, you don’t know anything more about why or whether your daughter was involved in that?
You said Raye Dawn would not have married Michael Porter had she known he was having financial problems? Isn’t that your opinion?
Did you have any conversations with her about that?
The house on the hill, when did you move out of it?
October of 2005.
The same time they moved in?
So it was your house they moved into?
January 14, were you aware the ER doctor said it could be abuse?
Did Raye Dawn tell you the doctor suspected child abuse?
I don’t remember.
Would you have been concerned?
Why were the police looking into it?
I guess the doctors told them to.
Do you remember why the police wanted to interview your daughter?
I was not provided any information about the collarbone and bruises happening on different days.
Did Raye Dawn know that?
She hadn’t seen the bruises.
She didn’t tell you?
She told me sometime that weekend, I don’t really remember.
Was Raye Dawn concerned?
What changed, what did Raye Dawn do differently after that incident?
The police checked it out.
That’s not my question Ms. Smith, what did Raye Dawn do differently?
I don’t understand.
The same people who were allowed to be around Kelsey before January 14th continued to be around Kelsey, would you agree with me that your daughter did not do anything differently after January 14th?
If they were concerned that Kelsey was being abused while in the care of your daughter would you expect the Briggs to come talk to you about it?
They should if they were concerned.
When Kathie filed for guardianship how did that make you feel?
After Meeker police cleared your daughter was that issue over for you?
Did you talk to the ER doctor?
You said the Briggs were not happy with the guardianship and visitation and were constantly going to court. Was that before or after January 2005?
After we went to court all the time.
How about before?
We went to court before too.
Didn’t you have to start going to court because Lance had to establish paternity?
Is it true your daughter swore in her divorce petition she was not pregnant?
I don’t know.
Did you tell people the father was a guy from the city?
I don’t remember saying that.
How about a guy from McCloud?
Not that I recall.
Did you allow your daughter any unsupervised visits?
No, I was always there.
Did she have any injuries during that time?
I think she got soap in her eye.
Did you report it?
I didn’t know I had to.
On March 11th, you say Kelsey knew about the problems between the families and that she was being passed back and forth? Why do you know that?
“Grandma what happened?”
So that’s it? Anything else?
When was Dr. Koons first visit with Kelsey?
January of 2005.
Would it surprise you it was actually in March?
Did you take off work to go to the doctor?
In August I went and I took off to go with her when I had her in May.
So all of your information from the doctors visits came from someone else?
When Kelsey’s hair started falling out, did you know that a referral was made to DHS on March 25th reporting an injury to Kelsey’s face?
I think I remember that.
Were you concerned?
About the bruises?
No, I knew how they got there.
She fell out of the screen door.
Raye Dawn told you that?
Yes, and DHS.
And DHS got their information from who?
Her hair loss, what was that caused from?
I thought she had been shuffled around so much.
Do you know how many hours the Briggs had Kelsey versus your daughter?
I know days not hours.
Who had more?
I don’t know.
April 14th how often did Raye Dawn allow Kelsey to spend the night at someone else’s house during these precious hours she had with her daughter?
Just once or twice.
Do you know what flip flops she sprained her ankle in?
They were purple.
How high were they?
About this high (she hold up 3-4 inches)
Could she get around pretty well in them?
I never saw her in them.
You have 3 children if DHS took your children, after they broke both of their legs wearing those flip flops would you let your child wear them again?
I might. I don’t know.
You said Raye Dawn told you to let Kelsey walk on her sprained ankle because that’s what the doctor told her?
Can you show me the paper that told her to have her walk on it?
I don’t have it.
Would it surprise you we have a piece of paper signed by Raye Dawn where the directions from Dr. Koons say “rest right foot”?
I don’t’ know.
Do you find it odd that she told you to walk on it when she had a piece of paper that says “rest right foot”? Would that strike you as odd?
That would strike me as odd.
Kelsey was crawling when she came back from the Briggs, did Raye Dawn tell you again that she needed to walk on her legs?
Did you see Kelsey’s leg on the 25th?
Did Raye Dawn tell you the whole time she was with the Briggs she only took 4 steps?
If that story wasn’t accurate, would that cause you concern?
Who is Greg Wilson?
Raye Dawn’s attorney in the custody battle.
Did you know that was Dr. Koons brother?
Not at the time.
How did you start taking Kelsey to Dr. Koons?
His office recommended her because we could get Kelsey in quickly.
Did DHS take Kelsey into protective custody when they first heard about the broken legs on April 25th?
Do you wish they had?
No, not at the time.
Do you wish they have today?
We’d all like to look back.
So DHS did not do what they were supposed to, the police ruled out abuse, that does not mean Kelsey wasn’t being abused all of this time, does it?
I have no idea.
When did you hear about the visit to Dr. Sullivan’s office and that he had ruled it abuse?
What did you think?
Oh my gosh.
Did you call Dr. Sullivan?
You got Kelsey and took her back to Dr. Barrett right?
Why did you choose Dr. Barrett over Dr. Sullivan?
Why would I want to go back to the doctor that took her casts off, she was in
Is it because you didn’t want to go back and see the doctor who said it was abuse? Kelsey didn’t have any injuries in May?
When Kelsey told Raye Dawn, Daddy Mike hurt my head, if she had said that to you would you have found that concerning?
Did you think Kelsey was accurate?
I don’t know.
Would you have laughed and aid you haven’t been around him?
If that was the truth.
What impact do you think that would have on a two year old if her mom just laughed it off?
I don’t know.
Do you think she’ll ever say that again?
I don’t know.
If Kelsey had told you that would you have looked into it?
Why didn’t Raye Dawn? Do you find that odd?
Not odd, because everyone else was watching them as well.
So in June, things seemed to be good because the Briggs were out of the picture, right?
How long were the visits with CASA?
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
The one time they came over to my house it was like 30-45 minutes.
So you were never there when they would go to Raye Dawn’s?
I guess a couple of times. They were coming when I was leaving or the other way around.
So when we talk about this intense situation where everyone is watching Raye Dawn you don’t even know how long they were there?
So the only mishap between June and October was the car accident?
What else did you know about?
Well Michael Porter said a lamp fell on her head.
The seizure activity.
You never saw one?
Was he making that up?
I don’t know.
How about when she rubbed her eye raw? You didn’t find that unusual?
No, Kelsey picked at things.
But you say things got better when she went back to live with Raye Dawn? Were you aware she weighed less when she died than she did in March of 2005?
She gained one pound at her last doctors appointment.
That’s not the question I asked you, were you aware she weighed less when she died than she did in March of 2005?
She was also taller.
Ms. Smith, I’m not trying to argue with you but answer my question, were you aware she weighed less when she died than she did in March of 2005?
Did Michael Porter tape Kelsey’s eyes shut?
Seems like I remember that.
Raye Dawn told me.
She was mad because Mike had put tape over Kelsey’s eyes and mouth?
Yes, Raye was upset about it.
Upset enough to call you?
What did you tell her to do?
I asked if they were playing and I told her to watch him.
So she could have moved out at that point?
But instead she moved into your house with him?
Is that all you remember?
Did she call you to tell you Michael Porter said Kelsey fell down the stairs and got some bruises?
Yes, she was concerned.
Because Kelsey was good at the stairs. We was starting to watch him. It struck me as odd but I didn’t see any injuries.
So why was Raye Dawn starting to watch him?
We just was.
You were beginning to suspect things just then? Did you look back at all of these other bruises at this point?
Just now starting to suspect things Did you talk to Raye Dawn about what to do about your suspicions?
No. I called Mike one day in the first part of October. He said he thought Raye Dawn treated Kelsey better than his kids.
So that conversation was not really about your suspicions?
You say Raye requested an autopsy? Were you aware an autopsy would have been conducted anyway?
No. I didn’t know that.
After Kelsey died did you talk to Raye Dawn about your suspicions with Mike Porter?
Do you remember what Raye Dawn said?
Raye Dawn did not allow Kelsey to spend the night with anyone on the 13th did she?
Does your mom work with Raye Dawn at Lewis?
She was at work on the 14th?
These flip flops are not the thin kind right?
Those instructions for Kelsey’s legs, were they given to Kathie Briggs?
Yes. Raye Dawn gave them to her. She tried to hand them back but Raye told her to keep them. Raye Dawn.
Do you remember when Raye Dawn took her to the doctor on 14th and the 25th?
Did the Briggs take her to the doctor?
The hearing in June, when Kathie Briggs testified that Kelsey was crawling for three days?
Did she take her to the doctor?
In May of 2005, was anybody upset with your care of Kelsey?
Not to my knowledge.
Do you know who had access to Kelsey while she was with the Briggs?
You had no idea what was going on?
Did anyone else know?
In April 2005 the case went to court in June, did the District Attorney’s office offer any response?
In the statement Kelsey made to Raye Dawn about Daddy Mike hurting her head, was Porter around at that time?
If he had been would that have been concerning?
Was visitation up to Raye Dawn or the judge?
When you found out Porter was charged with murder do you ever try to meet with Porter?
The scab on Kelsey’s eye, did you find that unusual?
No, Kelsey picked at stuff all of the time.
Raye Dawn didn’t know the policy of the medical examiner’s office?
No, she just wanted to know what happened to her daughter.
No, he said they’re not going to cut her up or anything.
October 11th, when you got to the house, did you see any bruises on Kelsey?
January 14th 2005, was there regular visitation?
Anything in those calendars that’s not accurate?
Kelsey was your granddaughter, if you thought she was abusing her, Raye Dawn was your daughter would have turned in your daughter?
Sure. I’d have gotten Kelsey first.
Did you have any suspicions Mike Porter would go to the extremes of murdering Kelsey?
July 17, 2007
Written By: Britten Follett
Rachelle Smith Testimony
Between 2002 and 2004 were you living with your mom?
Raye Dawn and Kelsey.
Why were they living with you?
She had just had a bad divorce.
How was your dad?
He was very ill.
Was Raye Dawn helping to take care of him?
What was Kelsey like?
She was very active, she loved going up and down the stairs, bouncing off the walls; she was a normal two year old.
Are you close to Raye Dawn?
In August of 2004, Raye moved out and got an apartment?
Did Kelsey go with her?
How often did you go to the apartment?
Everyday or every other day, it was an after school activity.
Who else would go with you?
My boyfriend and my friends sometimes.
Was Kelsey around them a lot?
Into 2005 it was just Raye Dawn and Kelsey right?
Do you have a brother?
You have one named Curtis?
Who is he married to?
And they have three daughters?
Are they close to Kelsey?
That’s your sister sitting over there, do you love her?
Would you get up and that stand and lie for her?
Were there problems between Lance and Raye Dawn during their marriage?
Did the tension remain after they were divorce?
Did both sides stick to the visitation schedule?
How did Raye Dawn discipline Kelsey?
Tell her no.
What’s an example of this?
Kelsey would crawl under that table and there were cords under there and Raye would say Kelsey no, that will hurt you.
So in October of 2004, Michael Porter comes into the picture?
Raye Dawn is still living at the apartment?
Did you come over then?
Did other people come over?
Was it nice to go over to your sisters and get away from mom and dad?
Did Raye Dawn have friends?
Once they got married did you go over to the house?
How far is that from Meeker?
10 miles. But I was living in Shawnee at this point. I still went there every other day.
Were you around from October 2004-2005 and was there anything that caused you concern that Porter would murder Kelsey?
In January, Kathie Brigs filed for guardianship?
Kelsey was switched around between families, do you think was that hard on her?
Yes I do.
When Raye Dawn would get her back would you see her?
Was going back and forth hard on Kelsey?
Yes. She was used to being with her mom ever since she was born. It was hard on all of us.
In June of 2005, Raye gets Kelsey back, was she happy?
Was the family happy?
Were you around?
Still every other day or so. As much as I could.
Before all of this would you consider yourselves a normal family?
Did they have get togethers, typical family stuff?
July 4th you had a gathering?
Fireworks, we had cooked out, kids everywhere.
We’ve seen a lot of pictures of Kelsey with bruises, one incident in March Kelsey had a bruise on her nose, did you see it?
I don’t remember.
The Briggs had custody of Kelsey until the 30th, did you see that bruise?
Not if she was back with Kathie.
On April 4th, she had another bruise, did you see that one?
I don’t remember.
She went back to Ashley and Lance so would you have been around then?
April 28th she had a knot on her nose, did you see that?
You didn’t see any of them because she was with the Briggs?
Huddleston pulls out July calendar
CHBS was involved, DHS was involved, what did CHBS do?
They would visit with Kelsey and Raye Dawn, see how she’s doing.
How long were they there?
An hour or an hour and a half.
Did you go to court?
I didn’t miss many court dates.
Huddleston shows Rachelle a picture of her mom putting Kelsey on a 4 wheeler.
Who took this?
What is going on?
Raye Dawn wanted to take Kelsey on the 4 wheeler.
Would that be how Kelsey was with her mom?
After July of 2005, when Raye Dawn married Michael Porter how many kids did he have?
Whitney and Bubby.
They were there with Raye Dawn?
Was Raye Dawn alone with Michael Porter’s kids?
Monday through Friday of every week.
He didn’t seem concerned to leave them alone with her?
Huddleston shows Rachelle a picture of Kelsey with Whitney and Bubby
What is this?
A picture of me holding Kelsey.
Was Porter there?
When was the picture taken?
Huddleston pulls out August calendar
Did you go to court in August?
I’m sure I did.
You saw the car accident on the 19th?
Yes. I was driving by as it happened. I had came from the house in Meeker and went to Shawnee to see them but they were not there, so as I was driving back
to Meeker, I seen it happen.
Where was it?
45th and Harrison.
Was it a pretty significant impact?
How fast were they going?
45, that’s the speed limit.
So not 15 or 20 mph?
The other car just pulled out and hit it?
Lots of damage?
Yes. I slowed down and pulled into a park to see if everything was okay.
How was Raye Dawn?
Worried about her daughter.
The paramedics arrive and check Kelsey out for injuries.
Why was she not transferred to the hospital? Did Raye Dawn want her to go to the hospital?
Did Michael Porter?
No, he said she would be fine. So I left my car with them so they could take her to the hospital later.
Did you see Kelsey on the 20th?
What did you see?
A bruise on her cheek and one of her eyes had blood on it.
Your sister took her to the doctor on the 23rd?
Did you see Kelsey in October?
Yes. Around the 7th.
How was she?
What was she doing?
Were you alone with her?
Yes, me and Raye was both pregnant at the same time and she was riding in the car with me and dancing.
From June to October was Kelsey’s overall condition improving?
She was getting better?
October 13th, you were at the house, who was there?
Me, Michael Porter, my brother, and sister-in-law.
Was Michael Porter acting strangely?
Yes. He tried to commit suicide. There was a gun in the nightstand and he got it out.
It was my mom’s. Me and my cousin was trying to get in the bedroom where he was and when we finally got in we took the gun down to the drawer in the kitchen. He came down and found the gun, but when he opened the drawer he turned around and closed it.
And there was another incident later?
Yes, it was chaotic, he came in and got a bottle of Tylenol later on, his sisters were there, he collapsed, and Mike said he didn’t want to go to Prague Hospital because Kelsey had died there.
Did you see any of the Tylenol?
Yes. I found 12 or 13 pills under the bed.
Cross Examination-Richard Smothermon
How old are you?
What kind of vehicle do you drive?
Mr. Huddleston asked you lots of questions about Mr. Porter. Let’s talk about Raye Dawn, the defendant here.
On January 14th she’s accused of abusing Kelsey? Did you guys talk about that?
No. She didn’t do it.
What did she tell you happened?
I don’t recall.
Did she ever tell you about bruising?
I don’t recall.
Wouldn’t you say this was a significant part of her life and you guys are really good friends?
But you don’t recall?
Did you go to court?
Were you there when Dr. Sullivan ruled the legs as abuse? What did you think about that?
The timeline showed she was with Ms. Briggs.
Did you have any doubt Kelsey was being abused?
Not by Raye Dawn.
Was there any doubt in Raye Dawn’s mind someone was abusing Kelsey?
I don’t recall. We wanted to know how they got broken.
Did she do anything to protect Kelsey? Did she keep her from Kathie if you believed these evil people sitting over here abused her?
Did you do anything?
By law we couldn’t.
Actually you could. Did you hire a lawyer?
But you’re aware lawyers could file for emergency guardianship?
I don’t know.
The car accident, you say you saw Kelsey in the back of the ambulance with no injuries?
You know she went to the hospital?
Why did the nurse that night write in her report that Kelsey had a reddened area to the eye prior to the accident, as reported by the mother? But you didn’t see it?
Did you ever talk to Raye Dawn about any of the bruises?
I just thought they were normal 2 year old bruises. She was active.
They all looked normal?
Not the legs.
Did you ever talk to your about who could have done this to Kelsey?
I don’t remember.
Your sister never said she spanked Kelsey with a hairbrush?
Did she have any idea how she got the bruises to her rear?
You said you drove a red car, what car was Raye Dawn driving in 2004?
It was black.
Had she drove it a long time?
Since before Kelsey was born.
You were aware Dr. Barrett said her legs were not child abuse?
I don’t remember.
Did anyone really know what happened to Kelsey’s legs?
To this day does anyone really know what happened to Kelsey’s legs?
Did the Briggs ever get a lawyer after the legs?
I didn’t pay much attention.
When you talk about the redness in her eye, were you talking about the inside of her eye or the outside?
Inside the eye, we were concerned about her bruises.
How long were you in the ambulance?
Miste Smith Testimony
Miste is Raye Dawn’s sister-in-law, she is married to Curtis Smith, Raye Dawn’s brother.
How long have you known Raye Dawn?
I’ve been in the family over 16 years and I knew her in high school.
Were your girls close to Kelsey?
Close to Raye Dawn?
Yes. I live in Seminole now, but we moved because we wanted our children
to grow up with Kelsey, she was like a daughter to me.
When Raye Dawn moved did you go to her apartment?
About 3 times a week.
When she got married?
Yes, the same.
Being around Kelsey and Raye Dawn, you have kids, you have had to discipline
yours, how did Raye Dawn discipline Kelsey?
She would just say no. Kelsey was a good kid, she would mind real good.
Was Kelsey fair skinned?
How was the relationship between Raye Dawn and the Briggs? Was there animosity?
There had been ever since Kelsey was born.
January of 2005, did you see any bruises on Kelsey after January the 14th? Were you around Kelsey?
Yes, and I didn’t see any.
Do you know the dates you were around her?
I can’t recall that.
Was there a guardianship filed by Kathie Briggs?
How did that make you feel? Was it hard?
Yes, she was just snatched from us, we were so close to her.
Was it hard on Raye Dawn?
From February of 2005 to March was Raye doing everything she could to get Kelsey back?
Over and beyond.
Was that hard on Kelsey?
Yes, they was together since she was born.
March 24th, the bump on her nose, you were there that day?
Yes, we had gone over there when the girls got out of school.
What did you see?
A red mark across her nose.
And the girls were playing?
Yes, Raye Dawn told them not to run in the kitchen because Kelsey had just fallen and hurt her nose doing that. There was just a little red mark on it.
Did you take her to the ER?
No, there was no need, it wasn’t bleeding, not something you’d just rush your kid to the ER for.
April of 2005, on the 13th, did you see Kelsey?
We went to Raye Dawn’s attorney and Kelsey came over and played with the girls. Kelsey and the girls were always together. She stayed with us until 10 when Raye came to pick her up. She was sleeping when Raye got there.
When did you pick her up for the zoo the next morning?
At 9. It was a school field trip.
Was she excited?
What did you do when you got to her house?
I got her dressed, went to Kmart with her and got some pull-ups and some pink princess sunglasses. Raye Dawn was getting ready for work.
Can you describe the flip flops?
They were terry cloth, rainbow flip flops, with quite a heel on them. After Kmart, me and Kelsey started to the city and got to the zoo.
Did you meet the kids at the zoo?
I called the teachers on their cell phones and found them. We walked into the zoo and found Marissa then we found Sierra. My two girls stayed together so they could play with Kelsey.
Did Kelsey injure herself?
Yes, she hurt herself. She turned her ankle on the flip flops but she never complained at that time. We was walking and she turned her ankle and I seen she didn’t have her flip flops on.
You saw it?
You were there?
Was Kelsey fine?
Did she want to run without the other kids?
She thought she was as big as they were. I went with other mothers, you don’t set and keep your eye on them every second.
When did Kelsey start complaining?
After the bird show she said, “My foot hurt.” That was about an hour or an hour and a half later. If Kelsey had a boo boo, you usually kissed it and it was okay, but this time it wasn’t. After we went on the carousel, she didn’t want to walk. So I called Raye Dawn at work and told her that Kelsey had hurt her foot somehow. We went to the emergency room.
Did you know DHS was watching?
Yes. Raye Dawn called DHS because we was concerned at the time because we were supposed to met Kathie at the ball field.
So we called DHS and Yolanda told us to take her to the ER. Was the leg xrayed?
Yes. The doctor said she had a sprained ankle.
Did the doctor give you instructions?
Yes, rest the right ankle, but walk as tolerated, if she wanted to walk, let her.
Why did you take these photos?
I was so sick of Kelsey going back and forth and Raye Dawn was accused of each and every bruise.
So Raye Dawn got Kelsey back on the 14th, did you see bruises on Kelsey?
Did you take these pictures? What are they of?
This one is a little bruise on her chest. A bite mark on her right arm.
Little bruise on her left elbow. Bruise on Kelsey’s back with a scratch in the middle of it.
These were the marks you saw on the 13th?
And as we see Ashley and Lance had Kelsey from the 4th through the 13th.
Once doctors see Kelsey at the ER, what next?
I took her to Kathie at the ball field.
From 9am until Kelsey goes with the Briggs, you were constantly with her?
On the 15th, did you see her?
Yes. We had to go to DHS to explain to Yolanda and they watched Kelsey while we sat and played.
That night the girls spent the night with Kelsey?
What was her condition?
She was limping on her right leg, same as the day before.
On the 16th the girls had a sleepover?
Yes, that day, Kelsey wanted to jump on a trampoline but I told her she could not. The girls stayed up until 2:30 in the morning playing.
Yes. You could not get her to sit down.
So Kelsey was with the Briggs from the 18th through the 21st?
Yes. I went with Raye Dawn to pick Kelsey up from the Briggs and she was crawling.
Was she able to walk?
Did you guys go to a garage sale on the 23rd?
I dropped the girls off there.
Did Kelsey walk?
April 27th, did you see Kelsey? Do you remember the knot on her nose?
We was over there until 8:30.
Did Kelsey want to sleep with anyone?
She likes to sleep with Whitney.
You saw Raye Dawn and Kelsey a lot?
As soon as the Briggs would give her back we would go over there because we missed her so much.
What are these pictures?
They are from a birthday party on the 16th.
Did you have contact with Mr. Porter?
Did he give you any indication he would eventually murder Kelsey?
You met with a DHS worker April 15th?
Yes, Yolanda or Kristal.
You said you were sick and tired and fed up of Raye Dawn being accused of abusing Kelsey?
So the next morning you took these pictures to DHS?
I don’t recall.
I don’t recall.
Did you give them to Mr. Huddleston?
I guess since they are my pictures.
How about these birthday pictures, is she standing in any of them?
So how could we tell she could walk?
I guess you can’t.
You missed her so much when she was with the Briggs? Do you think the Briggs felt the same way?
I’m not the Briggs.
How did you get along with Raye Dawn?
She’s my sister in law and I love her like my sister.
Did you discuss things?
If you had concerns you’d talk to her?
Between January 10th and 14th, did you see Kelsey?
If Raye Dawn had custody.
On the 10th she broke her collarbone on the 14th she had the bruises.
I seen Kelsey when she broke her collarbone. Raye Dawn said she fell out of the crib. I said that little booger .
Was Kelsey potty trained?
I can’t recall.
So you’re buying pull ups in April, was she potty trained in January?
She would have accidents. She did good during the day but had problems at night.
Did you ever see her naked?
I don’t know what bruises you’re talking about.
You mentioned the evil Briggs family just snatched her up, did you find that odd?
Did you ask Raye Dawn?
Did she tell you?
Did you know Kathie asked for emergency guardianship?
Do you know why?
We knew the Briggs accused Raye Dawn of abusing Kelsey.
How did you know that?
Because the Meeker police department was involved because Kathie called police.
So the source of all of your information for all of these things in January was Raye Dawn?
The family was telling us.
We’re a tight knit family, I don’t know who told me.
You don’t know who told you?
I’m not going to sit up here and tell you something I can’t recall.
On March 24th, Raye Dawn had not had Kelsey, did you go over to her house?
Every time Raye would get her back we would go see Kelsey. After school we went over there.
What was going on?
Kelsey was sitting in Raye Dawn’s lap.
Do you believe that the fall happened on the 24th?
Yes, there was a mark.
What time does school get out?
3pm, and I live in Seminole so it probably took me 30 minutes to get to her house.
And you were sick and tired of the allegations?
I was sick and tired of Kelsey being thrown around and not knowing what was going on.
Did you rule anybody out?
Kelsey wasn’t in a stable environment.
Did it cross your mind they could be caused from Raye Dawn?
No. My kids were around her all of the time.
On March 24th, did you tell DHS about the mark on her nose?
I had no reason to.
Let’s talk about the April 14th, isn’t it true that Kelsey’s foot hurt her on the 13th?
Isn’t it true that Michael Porter brought her in the house that night and Kelsey said my foot feel funny?
It was asleep.
Did you ever think oh my gosh, maybe there was something wrong with her foot?
No, she could walk.
Why did you tell the OSBI that?
It was a question they asked.
But you didn’t tell the jury that?
I have nothing to hide.
Kelsey never fell down when she twisted her ankle?
She turned her ankle and her foot came out of her flip flops.
You saw it?
Well, when she turned her ankle, I had her hand and her foot went out of her shoe. I left her shoes off.
So she was barefoot?
You didn’t think anything of it until after the bird show?
Did you tell the OSBI agent that Raye dawn asked you to come pick her up and that you would go get it documented because Kelsey had to go back with Kathie’s?
Did the doctor tell you to rest the right ankle or walk on it as much as possible?
Ma’am she said if she would walk on it, let her do that.
So these pictures you took at the ER…was Raye Dawn concerned about the bruises?
No, I was just showing they were childhood bruises. Every child has them.
Was it hard on Kelsey being away?
Do you agree it was hard on Kelsey to be with Raye Dawn too?
When Raye Dawn had no unsupervised visits would you agree, the bruises and the injuries topped?
No, she got them with Lance and Ashley.
Why did you take the pictures?
I took that to prove that when she’s with the Briggs she got bumps and scratches too.
Why did Raye Dawn not take those pictures?
I picked her up.
The pictures at the party, they do not indicate she’s walking but it does show she was happy?
In the OSBI interview you also mentioned you asked Kelsey about her foot, and she told you she was ready to go to the zoo?
Liz Green Testimony
Liz knows Raye Dawn through Curtis and Miste.
You know Miste more than Raye Dawn?
April 16th the day of the slumber party what happened?
Miste and Kelsey were there when my kids were trying to put a net around the trampoline. She walked on the trampoline that day. Her ankle was hurt, but Miste did not want her to hurt anyone. Her right leg was hurt. We all went to Shawnee for a sleepover. The kids were playing and we watched movies. Kelsey, Whitney and Sierra were playing, putting on makeup. Kelsey was playing with a dollhouse. I’ll always remember she was trying to get this lamp post to stand up. I left the next morning.
Was anything wrong with the left leg of Kelsey?
October 13th, 2005, what happened?
Miste, Mike, Raye Dawn and Gayla were at Prague making funeral arrangements.
Anything unusual happen that day?
Raye Dawn came inside and grabbed a notebook and left. Mike and Rachelle and Sarah Winters were in the house and we didn’t know where Raye Dawn went. She called and told someone to tell Mike she wasn’t coming back and he said, “I don’t have a reason to live”. He said no one believed him and that he didn’t do anything to Kelsey.
Charles Pearcey Testimony
Charles has been a pastor for 35 years and has spent the last 16 in Meeker.
Do you know Raye Dawn?
She’s been a part of the church off and on and in high school she would come over during the lunch hour and Raye Dawn’s friend ended up marrying my son.
October 11th, did you get a phone call?
Yes, my wife told me Glen Pettit was on the phone. He requested I go to the
hospital in Prague from 3-3:30pm.
Did you go?
Yes. I picked up Glen Pettit on the way. He filled me in that Kelsey had been taken to the hospital and we didn’t know if she was going to live. They thought maybe it could be a seizure.
When you arrived what did you see?
I heard someone groaning and make emotional sounds and saw Raye Dawn, Gayla, and family members. Raye Dawn was crying and I walked up toward her.
Did you see Michael Porter?
Not until later.
Did you try to comfort her?
Yes, she was shouting, “Why did God take my baby?” I just reached out to her and said let’s talk to him and asked him.
Did you pray?
After that I heard a really loud emotional noise in the hallway. It was
agonizing and gut rendering as I approach Michael Porter he was throwing himself at the wall, tossing around, beating the floor, saying, “Why did God do this? Take Kelsey from me?” I approach him to comfort him and he rejected me. He said no, no. I backed off.
Was there any hospital security around?
No. I went back to Raye Dawn’s family.
Have you had occasions were you’ve comforted other family members who have lost people?
Did you form any thoughts about Mr.Porter?
It bothered me, it troubled me, to me he was over-reacting. I don’t know how a person would react, something was not right, it bothered me he was not with his wife.
So you went back to Raye Dawn?
Yes and some people came up to her and told her someone would be coming to get Kelsey for an autopsy and she said oh good, I’m glad I wasn’t to know what has happened to my baby. She declared she wanted to see her baby, before they took her. I can never talk about this without choking up. I’m sorry. She was holding her baby, rocking her baby, talking to her dead baby.
Was Michael Porter there?
No. He stuck his head and cried out, oh my god. He did that about three times and tried to look and turned away. He got a little closer each time, and
finally I invited him in.
Did he comfort Raye Dawn?
Not at all.
Did Porter give any plausible explanation about his actions?
I asked him what happened. He told me he was home alone and Raye Dawn had gone to get Whitney and he found her and he thought it was a seizure. He said he tried to perform CPR. He began to say things kind of like he was blaming
Why are you blaming yourself, I asked?
Raye Dawn said as she was leaving, to take care of her baby. He just said I hope I wasn’t too rough with her. I tried to save her life. I said, you didn’t do anything on purpose did you? No, no.
What was your gut feeling?
I really did feel he was feeling a tremendous amount of guilt. I asked him why are you blaming yourself?
No further questions, your honor.
Cross Examination Declined
Scott is a Prague police officer.
On October 11, 2005, he says Michael Porter said, “She’s never going to forgive me,” while he was pacing back and forth outside at the hospital. He was pacing, nervous.
Then I heard someone say oh my god, and I turned around and saw him on the ground. He was lying there on the ground, staring at the sky.
He was not unconscious?
Sarah Winters Testimony
Sarah is Raye Dawn’s second cousin.
Did you know Raye Dawn before August of 2004?
We started working together at Lewis Manufacturing.
Did you get to know her better then?
Where were you living?
The Meeker apartments.
Same as Raye Dawn’s?
Are they big?
Do you have kids?
One, Megan, she’s 4.
Same age as Kelsey would be?
Were you around Kelsey?
She was a very playful little girl.
Tell us about her?
Very playful, she got into everything.
Was it just her and Kelsey?
How often did you visit?
Did she bring Kelsey to work?
Have you ever seen Raye Dawn discipline Kelsey?
Did she spank her?
She bit my daughter on the cheek.
Was Raye Dawn around your daughter?
Were you ever concerned about Raye Dawn being around our child?
Were you aware Kathie Briggs filed for guardianship of Kelsey?
Were you friends with Raye Dawn?
Would your friendship affect your testimony?
You know Lance and Kathie?
Was there animosity?
Yes, a lot.
How many people work at Lewis Manufacturing?
Did you get breaks?
The girls would get together and talk in groups?
Just around our work stations.
If something was said would it get around the workplace?
Like wild fire.
Do you know Donna Gilbreath and Mildred Johnson?
Did she tell you what she told them about hitting Kelsey with a hairbrush?
Did they say anything to anyone about the hairbrush?
If they had, under the circumstances would it have gotten around?
Like wild fire.
Was she complying with DHS?
She jumped through hoops to get Kelsey back.
April 14th, what happened?
I was at work and my cousin had a baseball game that night.
Were you present when Raye Dawn and Miste brought Kelsey to Kathie?
Raye Dawn gave Kelsey to Kathie and told Kathie she needed to walk. Kelsey wanted to swing but she wouldn’t go with me. So Kathie and I both took her.
After you found out Kelsey had two leg fractures, what did you think?
I didn’t know what to think, she was between Raye Dawn and the Briggs. I didn’t know if it was abuse, but if it was, I thought it was coming from the Briggs.
Was there lots of finger pointing?
Where was Michael Porter this whole time?
On the sidelines, no one thought Mike was involved.
After April 25th, did you leave you daughter alone with Michael Porter?
Yes. He didn’t give me any reason not to.
October 12, 2005 Did you go to Lewis with Raye Dawn?
Yes. Lewis was like her second home she wanted to talk to the women.
Was she upset?
Were you happy that day?
Were you there on the 13th when Porter started acting strangely?
Yes. (She tells the story about the Tylenol) Me and his sisters put him in the vehicle but he fell and when we got to Prague he said he did not want to go to that hospital, because that’s where Kelsey died. I told him he had to, so I talked him into going to Shawnee. I went to pick up Rachelle, and when I got to the Shawnee hospital, there was no one checked in under that name.
Are you telling this jury that Donna and Mildred came in and told them something that wasn’t true?
I did not hear them say it.
So are you telling me those women lied to the jury?
I don’t know what they told the jury.
Raye Dawn told Kathie, that Kelsey needed to walk on her legs?
That’s what I heard.
Why did she say that?
That’s what the doctor told her.
Did you come to court?
Some. I didn’t go to all of them, but I went to quite a few.
The leg fractures, you said you just don’t know what happened to them?
Because there’s just no way Raye Dawn would have done that so it had to be the Briggs?
Now that we know what Michael Porter did, it could have come from either one.
October 12th, What time did you get together with Raye Dawn?
In the morning.
Did you meet at the Meeker house?
If Raye needed anything I wanted to be there for her.
When you left the house where did you go?
Chandler, the courthouse in Meeker, dropped Mike off at work and went to Lewis.
Was Mike with you?
Just the three of you?
What did you do?
We went to the courthouse and Raye Dawn got a VPO against Kathie and Lance.
1st thing in the morning?
What did you do at Meeker city hall?
Gave the police the paper work to serve them.
Did you go see any friends?
We went to drop Mike off and then to Lewis.
So the petition for the VPO’s were filed at 11:02?
If that’s what it says.
So that’s the first order of business for the day? Why, did you think by golly the Briggs were responsible for her death even though they hadn’t seen her in months?
NO one said the Briggs were responsible for her death.
She was afraid of the Briggs? She didn’t want them to come to the funeral?
She never needed to say that.
It was assumed?
In the end, little Kelsey has two separate funeral?
Is Raye Dawn better friends with you than with Mildred and Donna?
She had lots of friends at Lewis.
Who was Raye Dawn’s best friend?
Casey at the time.
Was he ever told about the hairbrush?
I don’t believe so.
You also went to city hall to get a burial plot, correct?
Were you aware of agencies who had told Raye Dawn to get a restraining order?
I think someone suggested it.
And when you went to the courthouse in Chandler, didn’t you think at that point she died from a seizure?
Janet Gragg Testimony
Janet is Raye Dawn’s older sister. She has two children and two grandchildren.
How do you feel about Kelsey?
Kelsey was awesome.
When Raye Dawn moved out did you keep in contact with her?
I helped her move.
Did you visit her and Kelsey?
Yes, they were special to me.
Were you ever around when Raye Dawn disciplined Kelsey?
She just counted and did timeouts. Raye Dawn would get tickled when Kelsey would finish the counting.
Anything that would concern you about Raye Dawn?
If you left court tonight would you leave your grandkids with her?
Did you ever talk to Raye Dawn about the bruises or injuries?
Raye Dawn called me when Kelsey broke her collarbone because my daughter had broken hers twice. I told her I didn’t think she had broken it because Kelsey said it didn’t hurt and my daughter screamed both times.
Do you have a large family?
Big family gatherings?
Yes. When Raye Dawn would have her Kelsey would be the center of attention.
When Kathie Briggs filed for guardianship how did that make you feel?
Was there animosity between the families?
Did you know DHS was involved?
Between June and October are you aware of anytime that Raye Dawn did not cooperate with DHS?
No. Everyone was watching her, her life was like an open book. April 18th, Raye Dawn and Mike got married, I met them at the mall and Kelsey was walking around. She was favoring one of her legs. Raye and Mike were looking at rings and Raye was trying to hurry and Mike was trying to get the ring paid for.
Was Kelsey walking?
Raye Dawn was concerned about getting her to Kathie on time. So Raye Dawn and I left to meet Kathie at the Rainbow as the order said.
When you last saw Kelsey on the 18th, she was in the same condition as she was
at the mall?
Was the other leg injured?
No. She was walking.
Kelsey returned to Raye Dawn in June?
Were you around?
Was Kelsey happy?
October 11th what happened?
I got a call on my way home from work saying something happened to Kelsey. Gayla was crying saying we don’t know, something happened to Kelsey. I went to Prague and Whitney Porter ran up to me saying something was wrong with her daddy. And that he fell and hit his head. So I took Whitney into his room and I told him you have a scared little girl here and he told me to get out now, get out now.
Did you see Porter that day?
Where and when?
After we went back to the house and they let OSBI in I invited them to come stay at my house. Raye Dawn was in the early stages of pregnancy. I went into the house and Raye Dawn was lying across Kelsey’s bed. That night, I couldn’t get Raye to eat, but Mike sat and watched tv and ate chips and two sandwiches.
Do you think that’s odd he ate sandwiches?
At the moment I didn’t think it was unusual.
When did you think it became unusual?
I guess when all of this happened.
Was the wedding planned for a long time?
Not to my recollection.
When did you find out about it?
The day before.
And you guys were close?
Did she ever call you and tell you Michael Porter had taped Kelsey’s eyes and mouth shut?
Did she call and tell you Michael Porter says Kelsey fell down the stairs and she didn’t believe it?
No. We thought Porter was the greatest man. If she thought he was doing something she would have packed up and moved out, that’s the way we were raised.
Would it surprise you that Gayla said they would watch him when Raye Dawn called and told her all of those things?
No, but that doesn’t make her think he would kill her.
Would you or any other member of the Smith family taken Kelsey if you had known?
Yes. If we had ever seen any bruising I would have gone straight to Raye Dawn.
Would you have turned her in?
Yes. Michael Porter never spanked Kelsey and he never spanked his own.
July 18, 2005
Written By: Britten Follett
Brandon Watkins Testimony
Mr. Watkins how do you know my client?
I was Kelsey’s attorney. I was appointed to be the guardian ad litem and represent the interests of the child. The Briggs family had hired Mr. Hodgens and Raye Dawn was represented by Greg Wilson, so I represented the interests of the child.
On June 15th are you aware of the court date?
It was a full deprived hearing?
Yes, it took a little more than a day.
Lots of witnesses who were cross examined by lawyers and ultimately Judge Key ruled an unknown perpetrator?
Did Judge Key appoint services in the home?
Yes. CASA CHBS, and DHS.
Did Raye Dawn cooperate?
Are you aware of the animosity between the families?
Yes, I did receive some animosity between the Smiths and the Briggs.
What were the duties of all of those services?
To monitor Kelsey’s progress and ensure Kelsey’s safety.
What was the level of supervision in this case?
How would you compare the level of supervision in this case to others?
As much or more than others.
Ever had one with more?
Were court appearances required?
Yes. Everyone goes to court yes.
July, August, September were there any reports that concerned you?
No. They said she was doing great.
Do you make recommendations?
In September based on the information I recommended at first the case be dismissed. She continued to thrive in my opinion.
Had you seen her?
You testified in that hearing that she seems to be extremely happy…mom has done everything she could, Kelsey was living well, and flourishing. The mother deserves to have the custody back with her, not DHS. And the DA’s office agreed?
Yes. Both of us withdraw that recommendation because according to Ryan Luke the six months had not expired and Lance Briggs, the father was coming home
and I wanted to meet him. So your decision to withdraw the recommendation had nothing to do with my client?
Was the DA’s office always involved?
You mentioned Ryan Luke, what does that mean?
After a child is returned there is a time period to ensure everything is smooth, not an abrupt cut off of services.
Did Kelsey live through that period?
Have you seen the pictures of Kelsey with the bruises?
Take a few minutes to look through this stack of pictures. Have you seen those before?
No, this stack was certainly not made available to me. Based on the information before me, I made a recommendation.
This case has cost you a great deal of angst?
You came to my office and you said based upon information you had, at the time you made the right decision?
In the January did you have the luxury of knowing two witnesses who say Raye Dawn beat her with a hairbrush?
In September did you know Gayla Smith says Raye Dawn told her Michael Porter had Kelsey on the bed or on her stomach and eyes taped shut, did you know that?
How about when Raye Dawn was concerned that Porter told her Kelsey had fallen down the stairs?
Would this information have been important in your representing the best interest of the child?
Those pictures, are they one incident or many?
The DA’s office had pictures, did they give them to you?
The January incident, you’re aware the police cleared her?
The DA’s office declined charges?
I did not know.
How about the tape incident, they didn’t tell you all of the children were laughing and giggling, would that have made a difference to you?
I would have taken that into account.
No one saw Kelsey fall down the stairs, and no one saw any injuries, would that have mattered?
I would have considered all of the information in front of me.
Defense Rests Case
Denise Bird Testimony
Responsible for the medical records at Unity Health Center. She provided act or care instructions for Kelsey for the April 14, 2005 visit.
Who was the physician who treated Kelsey?
You weren’t there?
Activity says “as tolerated”?
All I can attest to is what the record says.
Does that mean walk on it until it hurts?
All I can attest to is what the record says.
Do you see anywhere where it says walk on it?
No. It says as tolerated, rest right foot.
Steve Tanner Testimony
OSBI agent since January 5, 2005
Miste Smith, did she discuss with you an incident at the zoo? Did she tell you about a phone call?
Yes. She told me Raye Dawn Porter said we have to take her to the hospital because I have to take her to Kathie Briggs.
Can you get out your report? What does your report say?
“Raye Dawn told Miste they would go and get it documented because she had to go back with Kathie Briggs.”
Murder Investigation, you don’t bother to record every interview?
Not every one.
Is there something suspicious about that?
No, I just annotated what she told me.
You knew a long history animosity?
You weren’t suspicious when Kelsey sprained her ankle at the zoo?
I don’t understand.
Yes, it was suspicious about her telling me that.
Do you find it suspicious if Miste Smith later denied making that statement?
9:35am Case Closed
I’m going to talk to you about how the law applies to this case?
Select a foreperson, you’ve got to pick one.
Enter deliberations, what does that mean?
You finally get to talk about the case.
You have five basic responsibilities
1. Determine the facts based on the evidence
2. Follow the rules
3. Fair and impartial verdict based on the evidence
5. Determine the credibility of each witness
If you didn’t see it or hear it within these four walls, it does not apply to this case, except…you get to take your common sense and it will carry the day in this case. You apply the law to the fact, find out what really happened.
That’s your job, you will determine what is justice. The evidence comes from that end of the courtroom, what the witnesses tell you. You have lots of exhibits to look through.
But the one person who could not come into this courtroom and tell you what happened is Kelsey. But she left behind her broken, battered body as evidence for you. Look at what happens when you don’t look at the evidence. Brandon Watkins, he didn’t know the evidence. You have hindsight. Kelsey should not be dead. We have all of these pictures, pictures of what she should be doing, going on 4 wheelers, playing at birthday parties. Do not make the mistake everyone else did. Do not believe every bizarre repetitive excuse Raye Dawn Porter has told you. Believe Raye Dawn Porter is what killed Kelsey Briggs. Those tears are worthless here. Kelsey is dead and she’s responsible for it. This is that child’s mother. Do NOT let her tears in this courtroom dissuade you.
You have to agree it was willful, when she took a hairbrush to Kelsey’s butt, was that willful? Do you think Kelsey’s legs were broken by accident? Dr. Sullivan says no, it was child abuse. This mother reasonably chose to do nothing. We are accountable for the choices you make. If you want to believe she is not the abuser, and that Michael Porter did it, then she knew. A mother does not have the right to choose her man over her baby. A mother has to choose to protect her child. When you come home and your baby’s eyes are taped shut, maybe you think it’s a joke, but she didn’t, she called her mother to tell her. When that happened in September how many times had she been told someone was abusing her. Did she call DHS? They called them every week earlier when all of this started, why not now? OK, bad choice Raye Dawn, we’ll give you that one, but how about the time Kelsey had fallen down the stairs? Remember when Gayla Smith told you, “We were watching him.” Really? What are you watching him do? Really? She watched him beat her child to death. Now is the day of accountability. Give her the first time, but how about the two others. Now she’s dead. No one had a better opportunity to save this child’s life and that’s if you believe Michael Porter is the killer. How does it happen, how does the system fall apart? How do you go from this to this? (holds up pictures of autopsy and picture of Kelsey happy) How do you go from playing at the courthouse to the morgue?
I heard this quote once, “All that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.”
The doctor, the Meeker Police Department, the CHBS worker, you can get all worked up but this jury is not here to decide if DHS screwed up, did Judge Key make a good decision. There will be another jury on another day to decide that.
Your job is on her mama, what responsibility does she have for the death of her child? None? She didn’t know? A long line of good people in this case have done nothing. All of the sympathy in the world will not save Kelsey. She’s gone. Not quickly and painlessly but she died. I submit to you those bruises on her buttocks, her legs, and her face and this woman’s story is that she never saw them.
Do you think those two old women made that up about what Raye Dawn told them about the hairbrush?
You have to decide.
That’s your job is to determine the credibility of witnesses.
If Whitney elbowed Kesley, wouldn’t it had to have caused enough of a bruise Kelsey would have cried out, but no one knows about it, they just walk into the bedroom and see the bruise and DHS goes okie dokie. And that’s not where it ends. When Raye Dawn Porter had supervised access to Kelsey there was not one injury. So what happens in June, the Briggs are gone, they are cut out of the picture? On July 12th Yolanda says she has scrapes on her nose and a bruise on her head.
Yolanda did not have the history on this case and she has to live with that.
On July 19th there’s a report she was malnourished. She weighted less when she died than she did in March. August 11th, she had faded bruises to her legs. No one is telling Dr. Koons about all of this. Who pays the price? Kelsey Shelton Smith Briggs.
All the grown up in the worlds saying that’s odd. She knew all along or she was doing it. If you believe the injuries in August were caused by the car accident, don’t you think that on August 20th, no sign of a bruise, how long does it take? What happened on the 21 through the 23rd? Every injury comes with a story but without an accurate truthful story. Does anyone call a doctor? No.
September 6th, the injury to her eye. Yolanda tells them it’s a high profile case. She tells Yolanda she washed Kelsey’s hair with adult shampoo and she rubbed her eye raw. We’ve all had shampoo in our eyes, have you ever heard of
that happening? Compare that with the tape over her eyes, do you think that could explain it? Raye Dawn never intended for you to hear about the tape incident. We’re watching him a little too late. She never intended for you to know that story, she wanted you to think he’s flying under the radar.
The red car, they try to tell you she was driving a black car when Eugene Snyder saw her throw Kelsey in the back seat.
They don’t tell you her sister has a red car and she visited her every day or every other day. Do you think that man came in here and made that up?
On and on people doing nothing. Don’t do nothing. It’s clear she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of both. But you’ve got to speak to her with your verdict. Tell her today the evil stops. Find her guilty.
Defense Closing Arguments
I wanted to thank you for being here, taking the time away from family and friends. Trials are hard, they are not fun. The system asks a lot of a person to be a juror.
I want to go over a couple of instructions, the first is that my defendant is not compelled to testify. My client did not take the stand because that’s her right. Why is that so important? This concept is the essence of what our country is about. We do not have to prove ourselves innocent. It’s the government’s job to prove us guilty. Before they can take you and lock you up in a cage they must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defendant is presumed innocent, must be found not guilty, unless the state presents evidence of each element of the crime, beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case from the state, from start to finish, is full of doubt. The state said we are going to have some unanswered questions. Questions lead to doubt. I still have them.
There are a lot of photographs, but are they of the same incident. I believe they are. They have put up everything to pile it on. Don’t have tunnel vision.
What about the soap in the eye, the tape, I can take each person in here and take pictures of all of your child’s injuries and it would look like the kid got beat up. Think about someone taking pictures of all of the bumps. Click. Scrape. Click. I can twist it and turn it make every truth I want to about it, but when the tables are turned the truth comes out.
October 11th, my client was not home. That is the day Kelsey died. Patti Bonner says Kelsey was playing and laughing before Porter got home. These pictures of Kelsey on the autopsy table do not belong in this trial. They should be in Michael Porter’s murder trial.
Make no doubt, Michael Porter murdered this little girl. Do you have any doubt? If you don’t have any doubt, think about the DA saying I think you committed the murder of this child. It should be done. Dr.Yacoub says they were fresh injuries. Then we heard how Kelsey was sexually assaulted. Every time I stood up and said Michael Porter murdered and sexually assaulted Kelsey, did you hear that? Why didn’t they object? Why wasn’t Dr. Hawley called? They exhumed the body. They flew him down here to do another autopsy to put this child through another autopsy. I didn’t hire him.
Why didn’t they call him? Because he would say Kelsey was sexually abused and that didn’t fit her. What is that all about? Is that fair? Is that above the board? Is that the way we should prosecute this case? I have no earthly idea
why they put Porter on the stand when the DA knew he wasn’t telling the truth. It seems bizarre. I didn’t even write down the dates of what he was saying because this whole incident he kept saying Raye Dawn was the greatest mom. OSBI told him he murdered this little girl and he say’s now’s the time to stand up for my woman. He didn’t say I saw this deal. He bellied up to the bar and took 30 years. Why would you plead to 30 years? The most telling question I asked Mr.Porter is why did you allow your children around Raye Dawn if saw her beating Kelsey, why did you hang around? He said he kept his children from her. But we showed you the picture of Whitney and Bubby with Raye Dawn. He’s a liar. Why the DA didn’t prosecute him for the murder of Kelsey I don’t know. The evidence was there. We weren’t even putting on Porter’s case but we proved it to you. Why didn’t he introduce this into evidence (shows autopsy picture of injuries to Kelsey’s privates)? Every one of those autopsy photos goes with Mr. Porter, not us. Let’s talk about the legs, we were told from the 14th through the 25th, first of all, can you tell me why a police investigation was not done? This DA and his office has been in this case since January. He is the chief law enforcement in the county, why was there no investigation? You can’t blame my client. Ask the DA why?
They put on the murder, the legs, they made the implication. The only investigation that was done, was by Kristal Johnson and she’s probably a good
person, but she got nervous up there, bless her heart. I asked her ma’am can you tell me who had the child during those dates? She told me Raye Dawn and Kathie Briggs and when I asked her to tell me specifics? She couldn’t answer. So what did we do? Did the state clear that up for you? We tried to show you who had the child when she was with Raye Dawn.
The testimony was the child goes to the zoo, Raye Dawn was at work, she got hurt, goes to the ER, goes to the ball field and delivers the child to Kathie Briggs until the next morning. Then Raye Dawn has her and Miste comes over and they played, they went to Liz Green’s house and she played. That’s the 17th, they got married on the 18th, and we put Gayla Smith on the stand who told you the child was standing up at the courthouse. Janet Gragg went with to deliver Kelsey to Kathie Briggs. The child returned to Raye Dawn later on that week and there’s a garage sale. On the 25th the fractures in the legs are discovered and everyone who testified from the 14th through the 18th saw Kelsey limping on her right leg and walking on her left. All of those ladies who was around saw nothing wrong with the legs. Dr.Barrett said it was not abuse. Dr.Sullivan who I have no doubt is the foremost child orthopedic surgeon says it was abuse. I asked how you can tell and he said the different formation of callus on the bone. He explained by the amount of callus on the bone you can tell when each bone was broken. He said it takes between 6 and 10 days for callus to form. So I took him to the calendar and said let’s look at the left leg and count back 6-10 days. The 18th, 19th, and 20th, is 6-10 days. Then he said the right leg could have been broken on the 4th maybe the 5th, remember that? Then he said he got confused when showed him he was with Kathie Briggs that day. He told me he was confused, but I don’t think I confused an orthopedic surgeon, he just didn’t believe she could have gotten hurt with Kathie Briggs.
Kathie Briggs testified she was crawling the whole time. Well let’s look at them. If we go on the dates the 18th, 19th, 20th, if we go on the symptoms then she is crawling. That was evidence of those facts. You tell me what happened to her legs. You tell me! How do you put any of that evidence on my client? I don’t know. I know my client took the child to the doctor twice. No one else did. Ms. Briggs took her to the doctor for a bump on the nose, the child was crawling, she was in pain, why did she not take her to the doctor? Do you have any reasonable doubt for my client on the legs? She was not at the zoo. Is there doubt? Dr.Sullivan got upset and said I am looking at the mother. Why? What is with her? Ms.Briggs told me what happened. He never looked at the time!
The collarbone, Kelsey fell out of her crib. Is that possible? Yes. Kids fall down, get collarbones broken all of the time. DHS testified they cleared her on that, they still have ruled her out on the collarbone, but no one has ever said they ruled the collarbone abuse.
The bruises on her butt, Raye Dawn didn’t know how they got there. Lance and Ashley discovered the bruises. Dr.Griffin said they could be fresh injuries, within 4 hours. 2 others testified you can’t date bruises.
Officer Byers, when the state questioned him, I didn’t think they got along real well. Because he wasn’t saying what they wanted. They said the DHS investigation was more complete. If you had a crime would you rather have Byers and Leabo or Kristal Johnson, who would you call? Leabo was questioned about whether hearing from two witnesses who Raye Dawn says she beat Kelsey with a brush, would have made a difference in his investigation. When I told him that only came out two weeks before trial, we have a different story from Donna and Mildred.
They didn’t call Lance Briggs, did you notice that? Never called him. Notice that?
Mr. Neymeyer looked at the charges presented by Officer Byers and said I’m not filing charges. Not one single charge, and now today they do? Find that strange? Odd? If it was so horrible, why did they not file charges then?
We have heard there’s a lot of hard feelings between the Smiths and the Briggs, you can see that for yourself, metal detectors, deputies around the courthouse, lots of hard feelings between the families and they didn’t just start. If she knew the bruises were on Kelsey why would she take the child over to them? Because she knew what would happen and it did. Before they even dried the child off, they snapped pictures. Do you think that’s strange? We didn’t get our way in the police investigation? So they take the child. Do you think she knew that would happen? So why would you take the child in the first place. Don’t you think she would have made an excuse and not taken her over there until the bruises healed?
That about Whitney and the nose? I didn’t hear her testify. I’m surprised there wasn’t more injuries. Do you remember how she was going back and forth? Three or four people were examining the child. My kids would have a whole lot more bruises than that. Do you think Kelsey had a good time taking those photos? We showed you ours. She’s happy. The April 27th incident, when Kelsey was crying uncontrollably with grandma why would a child be crying? How hard was that to call Raye Dawn.
And the car accident, I don’t understand the car wreck. How would anyone get a bruise when a drunk driver slams into them? That’s what we have. That’s it. Porter killed her October 11th and that’s their evidence.
I submit there’s not a bit of evidence. They had 160 witnesses and you heard from the cream of the crop. They didn’t have a single bit of witness with any evidence. Eugene Snyder, he didn’t see anything, he didn’t see my client throw Kelsey over the car seat. Paul Sutton, Porter’s attorney found him. Snyder, he’s their main guy? Mr. Porter took 30 years because that was his witness, his star. Isn’t it ironic all of the people they never brought someone from the Briggs family who says they saw my client abuse Kelsey?
Can’t find abuse? Go this way, charge her with enabling. They don’t even know, can’t make up their mind.
No one else knew, or should have known, how in the world is she guilty of that? What should she have done? Did she miss classes, stop someone from coming into the house, everyone was watching her. Ms. Briggs called her in for an expired tag, think about how much they hated her.
June, August and September, look at how many people were in her house, think about that, how is she allowing child abuse?
Pretty clever, everyone is watching. Almost too much to comprehend, in the supervision. After Mr. Porter was charged, Raye Dawn cooperated with police, she didn’t hire a lawyer, she did make statement after statement everything she has been asked to do.
If we can’t prove it by the evidence, we’ll hire Mr. Block to throw up some theories. They don’t have anything.
Tape on the eyes, we’ve gotten to that point, throw everything at them and by god, just get a conviction. Mr. Porter was charged and it took 4 months to charge my client. Once Kelsey died the pressure in this case went sky high. 90 days after this guy murdered my granddaughter, let’s set down and have a cordial conversation with him. She knew about the sexual abuse. Why? This is going above and beyond to meet with the man who sexually raped and murdered your granddaughter.
DHS, CASA, DHS, the police, now they want to charge her. Mistakes were made, but they want to try her with their mistakes.
Sometimes you can’t stop a sexual predator. Every one of them said Mr. Porter was a good guy. Now she should have known.
I’m tired of it. Sick and tired of it. Every single little thing. They couldn’t prove murder, abuse, they come up with tape at the end. She told the OSBI way back about this and told them it was not a big deal. When everything else is crumbling, bring on the tape.
What would it be like to be Raye Dawn? She has her only child for a year and a half and one day at work she find out on her ex-mother in law took her child from the babysitter. Then you can’t see your child for 7 weeks. These the weekends, (holds up pictures of Kelsey happy) she did everything she could. Classes. She went, would you? Back and forth, back and forth, then she sees her child’s legs are broken. She’s thinking what’s going on? Dr. Barrett says it’s not abuse.
A week later Kelsey says Michael Porter hurt my head and they laugh it off and no one reported it until now. Then she gets her back and people are in the house this day and that day, and then her child dies. I have two of them. I don’t know what that would feel like. Then she finds out the person she married raped and murdered her child. Then the websites and the media start hounding her, did you kill your baby? Did you kill your baby? She’s chased down the hall. Then they filed on her, she’s looking at life in prison. You’ve to go come in here and everyone look at her. I’m not going to plea like Porter, he’s a coward, she stood up and said I’m not guilty. Everyone is hounding her, trying to get a picture of her. Then she’s got to look at those autopsy pictures. They’re still looking at her, is she faking those tears, not faking?
She’s been through enough. It’s time to draw the line in the sand and say it stops here. I need you stand up for her.
It’s time the jury verdict be unanimous. Stand up, stop it, stop this stuff. It’s time. Find her not guilty of every charge and you know why.
Smothermon Closing Argument
I’m glad there was a lunch break, because when Mr. Huddleston finished his closing arguments, I was angry, they chose a style of attacking and they attacked me personally. I wanted to defend every accusation they made toward me and my office.
But at lunch I really thought about it, and realized that’s not what this was about. It’s about Kelsey. Not about me.
After this is over and you’ve reached a verdict I will answer every question you have. I’ll tell you why I pled Michael Porter, but that’s not what this trial was about.
I want to talk to you about Kelsey; I’ve lived this case since October 12, 2005.
I want to be the voice of Kelsey today. (Richard chokes up)
I still have a lot of questions. But questions do not necessarily lead to doubt. Look at all the elements and if it’s not there, ask me later. I did endorse 160 witnesses, that’s the way I prosecute cases. If your name is even mentioned, I endorse you. You would hold it against me if I called all 160. You heard from the ones I believe matter the most.
They could have called Dr.Hawley, they have the same subpoena power as I do.
Why didn’t you hear from Lance? He was out of this state, serving our country, he wasn’t here, and when he came home, he had to bury his child. He’s been through enough.
There’s a reason I sent Michael Porter to prison for 30 years. I hate him. Take him for whatever value you seem appropriate. They were going to put him on trial regardless that was their defense.
Who is on trial here? This is the state versus Raye Dawn Smith. The defendant misses the entire point and it’s not the first time. The reason she’s not charged with murder is because I don’t believe she committed that crime. If you are guilty of enabling, you are guilty of whatever comes from it. The law holds child abuse and enabling the same.
This defendant wants you to think Michael Porter did those injuries. Those two are together. Kelsey had a really, really bad life. Those injuries are only the final chapter in Kelsey’s life.
She wants you to believe Kathie Briggs had a vendetta. You judge her by the way she testified in this court and what she said back in June of 2005. She said she wanted Raye Dawn to be reunited with Kelsey, but only after she got help. Does that sound like a vendetta?
Is it odd to take all of those pictures? Yes, but us lawyers tell people to document things. It was really good advice, and had she not documented them? Kelsey would still be dead, but we would have no evidence.
They were right, only one person has the right to file charges and that’s me. Yes, Kathie Briggs came after me with tenacity, she came after me with the same kind of tenacity she went after Judge Key, DHS, but the system failed her when she was standing on the rooftop screaming her lungs out. And you know what? She was right. We failed her. I wish I had listened sooner. All I can do is let you decide the evidence.
January 14th, the bruises on both sides of her buttocks, Mr.Huddleston is right, she was cleared by Matt Byers. I wish I had three hours to tell you about him, but I don’t. That was the worst child abuse investigation I’ve ever seen. Not only did he clear her, he gave her, her defense.
Put that incident in a vacuum. We don’t have to prove every incident. If you found her guilty of January 14th, game over, case closed, that’s it.
That brings me to punishment. Were the bruises excessive for that accident? You decide. Raye Dawn’s own sister said she didn’t see a single bruise on Kelsey after the accident.
The legs? Wow. I still cannot tell you who did those legs. Child abuse is a crime of secrecy; you don’t do it in front of people. All you see are the results and we have to piece it together.
Enabling child abuse, every time we charge someone with an alternative charge, a good defense attorney will stand up there and say we don’t know which one it is. We believe there is evidence to prove both. You decide.
No where does it say she had to know it was Michael Porter. When Kathie called to tell her Kelsey was going into DHS custody, she told her, you’ve got to stop this. Only you can stop it. Her response? I didn’t hurt her, it wasn’t me. I wouldn’t let it happen. I…I…I.
What’s important about the legs? She’s on notice and she can’t hide behind Dr.Barrett and Dr.Koons anymore.
What we haven’t talked about Donna Gilbreath’s testimony any further is that Raye Dawn told her Kelsey didn’t like Mike because he’s mean to her. Donna told her, she put her on notice, she told her to find out why Kelsey didn’t like him. And told her, you’re her mother.
Annette Swinford says Kelsey said Daddy Mike hurt my head. What would have been an appropriate response when your daughter tells you that? Hey DHS, you’re listening, did you hear that? How about going home to Michael Porter and asking him why she says you’re mean to her. When a child says someone is hurting her, it’s a mother’s job to listen.
May 18th, less than a month after Dr. Sullivan says someone broke her legs, what do you do about it? Nothing.
Michael Porter said one thing on this stand that you should remember, “Me not doing anything to stop it makes me as bad as had I did it.” He’s never said any truer words.
Her mother told you she knew. They’d be the first to watch him. Not the first to report it. They want you to believe because everyone was watching them, she couldn’t have abused her. But that only works if there was no further abuse.
We know there was further abuse. What do you do when someone says perpetrator unknown? You put her in your pocket and carry her around because that is your one duty on this earth. Did she do anything differently? No.
People were watching her, but they never had the benefit of the truth.
She did everything, that’s what they want you to believe, and this is very telling. I met with Raye Dawn and her mom immediately following Michael Porter being charged with murder. She says she has done everything, well she didn’t.
She never told me about the tape over Kelsey’s eyes, she never told anyone about Porter saying Kelsey fell down the stairs.
That would have been real helpful to know when you’re putting together a murder investigation.
This case means a whole lot to me. There’s not a day that goes by, that I don’t think about what I could present to you.
Gayla Smith says they were starting to watch him. At that point she’s guilty of enabling child abuse. It’s not enough to watch. The law requires action.
You can’t wait for him to break her legs.
You can’t wait for him to confirm your suspicions.
You can’t wait until she’s murdered.
If you choose that path you can’t hide behind DHS, the DA’s office, and Michael Porter. They want you to think Michael Porter was hiding in the shadows. Who’s hiding in the shadows now? She’s hiding in Michael Porter’s shadows.
This defendant abused her child and watched as her child was abused over and over. She either did it, or let it happen.
What do you do about it? Hold her accountable through her tears. Tears do not absolve you of your accountability.
I’ve sent a lot of people to prison crying.
The path of no action caused Kelsey Shelton Smith Briggs to be murdered.
I’d like to tell you what an appropriate sentence should be. But I want you to consider all of the abuse. I want you to consider Michael Porter’s statement; he said not doing anything is just as bad as doing the abuse.
Kelsey Briggs died. She died. She died. She’s dead.
This child was murdered because her mother allowed it to happen.
2:45pm the judge handed the jury the case
In a little more than two hours the verdict was in:
Raye Dawn Smith was found GUILTY of felony Enabling Child Abuse. The jury recommended 27 years in prison.