For about an hour Monday afternoon during the capital murder trial of a York City man accused of fatally beating a toddler, the focus shifted to the actions of the dead child's mother.
Aric Shayne Woodard, 40, of West Jackson Street, is facing the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the Nov. 7, 2011, death of 2-year-old Jaques Twinn.
Woodard, who goes by Shayne, regularly baby-sat Jaques and the boy's 1-year-old sister, according to York City Police, who said Woodard was watching the siblings at a home in the 100 block of West Boundary Avenue when Jaques was beaten.
Police allege Woodard left the children alone to go to a nearby store and that when he returned, he assaulted the child after realizing Jaques had smeared feces all over himself.
Woodard had feelings for the children's mother, Hayley Twinn, but she did not reciprocate, according to lead Detective Al Clarkson.
"(Woodard) became frustrated that day," Clarkson has said. "He knew she was out with somebody else, and he realized she was using him to watch her kids while she was out with another guy."
Mom's actions: On the stand Monday, Twinn testified she dropped her kids off with Woodard Sunday "because I had a few things to do."
Twinn, 21, of East King Street, admitted on the stand during questioning by first assistant district attorney Jennifer Russell that she never made an effort to pick up her children on Monday because "I thought they were OK with him."
She also acknowledged she is currently facing child-endangerment charges for leaving her children with Woodard. Police say she knew she was leaving them in what was essentially an abandoned house in poor condition.
"I take responsibility for my part in it," she told jurors.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Joanne Floyd, Twinn confirmed she didn't pay Woodard to watch her children.
Asked where she was from Sunday night until Monday evening -- when she eventually learned of her son's death -- Twinn said, "I was doing various things," including cleaning her home, doing laundry and paying rent.
She said she couldn't remember what else she had done.
With a man: That's when Floyd asked whether Twinn didn't actually spend the night with a local taxicab driver both in a hotel and in his cab.
Twinn replied, "Most of the night. Well, part of the night."
Floyd also asked Twinn about a conversation the young woman allegedly had with her children's day-care provider in the days prior to Jaques' death. Floyd indicated the day-care provider was concerned about the safety of Twinn's children and tracked down Twinn to talk to her.
"She came to my house and said my mom was calling Children and Youth Services on me because of the marks on Jaques," Twinn testified. She had previously told jurors her son had a cut above his eye and a bump on his forehead, and that both wounds had happened while Woodard was watching the boy on an earlier occasion.
Floyd asked whether the day-care provider offered to take Jaques and his little sister for a few days, to give Twinn a break. Twinn again said she couldn't remember.
Sending kids away? Then Floyd asked Twinn whether -- three days before Jaques died -- Twinn had told her mother she made arrangements to send her children to either Arizona or Mexico to an aunt's home.
Again, Twinn said she couldn't remember.
On redirect, Russell had Twinn confirm that Jaques suffered from no known medical conditions, other than eczema, and that he seemed normal when Twinn dropped him off with Woodard.
In response to Russell's questioning, Twinn said she and Woodard were friends, but became more than friends on one occasion.
She said Woodard wanted to be more than her friend.
Overwhelmed: Twinn then admitted she was feeling overwhelmed by her children and that she never bothered to check on them Monday.
"I thought he would take care of them," Twinn said of the defendant.
The tearful mother also said she never hit her children.
An autopsy determined Jaques suffered wounds to his brain, face, ears, stomach, back, buttocks and legs. He also suffered internal abdominal injuries, officials have said.
Floyd did not give an opening statement Monday, but has told The York Dispatch there's no definitive answer as to when the injuries were inflicted on Jaques, or who inflicted them.
-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.