SPOKANE — Caiden Henry did not live long enough to form words. But attorneys spoke extensively on the dead baby’s behalf Wednesday as the second-degree murder trial opened for the babysitter charged with beating the 10-month-old to death in 2017.
Joshua J. Mobley, 31, who has no previous criminal history, was charged with causing the trauma that killed Caiden, who had spent most of the day Feb. 26, 2017, in the care of Mobley.
Mobley dropped off Caiden that night with his mother, Crystal Henry. Henry awoke early the next morning to find her baby not breathing. She called 911 and tried in vain to breathe life back into her son, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Duane Smith said.
Spokane County Medical Examiner Dr. Sally Aiken later performed an autopsy on Caiden and determined the cause of death was “blunt force trauma to the head … that caused a slow death,” Smith told the jury. “This was not an injury caused by hitting a head on a crib.”
Caiden also had a ripped bowel that caused internal bleeding, and he was forming pneumonia “which is indicative of someone being unconscious for an extended period of time. The injuries were consistent with child abuse,” Smith said.
Defense attorney Carl Oreskovich told the jury the defense will not substantially argue the nature of the injuries that killed Caiden. They will, however, argue Mobley did not cause them.
“As you might imagine, there are two sides to this story,” Oreskovich said. “I ask you to keep an open mind.”
He acknowledged Mobley provided care for Caiden in the several hours leading up to his death. But part of that time, Mobley had taken his wife, their three children and Caiden to his parents’ house in the Mead area.
“Josh Mobley showed his family Caiden. All of them will tell you they witnessed no injuries” on Caiden, Oreskovich said.
He noted Caiden had been left in the care of his mother, Henry, for hours before he was found not breathing.
“We don’t dispute a lot of the terms of the nature of the injuries,” Oreskovich said. “But did they occur in the care of Crystal Henry or Joshua Mobley? We don’t know what happened in the five hours after Joshua Mobley left. I’m confident that when you have the opportunity to examine the evidence, that you will find that Joshua Mobley is not guilty of the crimes that are charged.”
Both Smith and Oreskovich described two young families who were trying to work together to provide care for their children. The trial is expected to last more than two weeks before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Julie McKay.
On several of the days when Jennifer Mobley worked, Joshua Mobley provided care for the four children.
Smith also said that about a week before his death, Caiden came home with several bruises on his face. Henry took cellphone images of the injuries and inquired with friends about what she should do.
Smith said Jennifer Mobley initially said she had no idea why Caiden had bruises and Joshua Mobley claimed he hadn’t noticed any injuries. They suggested Caiden may have fallen and hit his head on a hard-sided crib.