Girl testifies against Dallas man accused of killing his 3-year-old son
Brandon Edwards’ daughter no longer calls him “daddy”.
Before seeing him in court on Monday during his capital murder trial, the 11-year-old told jurors her last memory of Edwards was when he violently ripped off her brother as she fled their home with his mother.
Dallas police and prosecutors say Edwards, 37, then killed Bryson Edwards, 3, on January 12, 2019, at the Greens of Hickory Trail apartments near West Wheatland Road. If convicted, Edwards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Witnesses for prosecutors on Monday did not say how Bryson died. Edwards’ indictment states that Bryson died of asphyxiation “in a manner and by means unknown”.
Before jurors heard Bryson’s sister testify, prosecutor Marissa Aulbaugh said the girl was afraid to go to court. The girl feared her father, whom she called by his first name in court, would attack him, Aulbaugh said. The morning news from Dallas does not identify the girl because of her age.
State District Judge Tina Clinton of District Criminal Court 1 asked the girl to come in and see the layout of the courtroom. Six law enforcement officers lined up in the courtroom to make her feel safe. Her mother, Quiana Williams, was sitting in the courtroom gallery.
Edwards hugged a piece of cloth to his face and sobbed softly. His daughter looked at him briefly before agreeing to testify.
Two jurors wiped away their tears as the child described Bryson as his best friend who loved his family. The day Bryson was killed, she and Bryson were playing video games when they heard their mother scream in pain, the child said.
The brother and sister ran upstairs and found their father attacking their mother. The kids yelled at Edwards to stop and the girl said she threw the video game controller at him. Williams broke free and ran down the stairs to escape the apartment. The girl took her brother and carried him while she ran.
As the girl walked out the door, Edwards snatched her from her arms, she said. She turned and heard Bryson call her by name. Edwards closed and locked the door, said the girl.
She described feeling guilty for escaping and Bryson did not. She finds it hard to believe that her brother’s death was not her fault, she said.
Williams, who was hospitalized after the attack with multiple stab wounds, also testified on Monday. When she first sat in the witness box, she briefly looked at Edwards across the courtroom. He didn’t look at her.
She told jurors that when she has to talk about that day, she speaks emotionlessly as a way to cope.
She testified that in the hospital, she questioned nurses and doctors countless times about her son. A detective finally told him that Bryson was dead. Williams said in her disbelief she struggled to get out of the hospital bed to see her son, who she believed to be in the same hospital. His wounds had to be stitched up.
Police and paramedics said Edwards was hunched over the second story window screaming as they arrived. A detective testified that Edwards yelled “shoot me” and “kill me”. A witness who lived in the complex said he heard Edwards say “I’ve done it before” and another neighbor said he claimed to be philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli and rapper Tupac.
When questioning defense attorney Paul Johnson, he said police reports showed Williams and his daughter said Edwards was acting strangely that day saying weird prayers and walking through the apartment with burning candles while talking to himself. But Williams and the girl testified that this did not happen.
Johnson insinuated that Edwards was under the influence of a drug or a mental health issue. A responding officer said he believed Edwards was under the influence of drugs while a paramedic said she believed Edwards was acting.
Williams said Edwards had never been abusive during their 11-year relationship. Edwards was the primary caretaker for the children while Williams worked. Williams said Edwards complained about his family shortly before attacking him. Williams, who was lying on the bed, said she turned her back on him and ignored his complaints. Williams said she was sitting down to watch Edwards when he started making a scratching noise on the floor. It was then that he rushed towards her with a knife, she testified.