The Edmond Sun

January 29, 2013

Child murder defendant plans to take stand

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

OKLA. CITY — Rico Berry’s attorney Mark McCormick said during proceedings Tuesday morning that his client plans to take the witness stand during his trial this week.

In October 2009, Oklahoma County DA David Prater charged Rico Antwoine Berry, of Edmond, with first degree murder in the death of Jolen Babakhani, 2, of Edmond. Prosecutors allege that Berry caused injuries to the toddler’s brain, eyes and body, inflicting mortal wounds that caused the boy’s death.

The state medical examiner ruled Jolen’s death was a homicide, resulting from head trauma, causing a subdural hematoma. A subdural hematoma is a type of blood clot or clots that often result from a skull fracture.

Jolen lived at an apartment at 400 E. Danforth Road with his mother. Berry had just moved in the previous day.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for Mr. Berry” due to the serious nature of the charge against him, McCormick said, while reminding jurors that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

Judge Glenn Jones swore in a jury of eight women and four men to hear testimony. They’re in the process of selecting two alternates to the jury.

On Monday, the prosecution interviewed potential jurors while the defense had their chance at voir dire Tuesday morning.

The jury consists of a day care owner, a doctor, a principal, several teachers and a mother of two young children.

Assistant District Attorney Gayland Gieger said opening arguments could begin around 3 p.m. today.