Mother testifies in infant
murder trial

By Daniel Silliman


Candance Jakes said she's "pretty sure" she cried during an interview with homicide detectives, when her infant daughter died.

But, she also said she didn't know if she cried. At one point, she said she definitely did, but she also said she didn't.

The mother of the murdered infant, Makayla Denise Valley, was certain, though, she said under oath, that she rolled her eyes at the detectives and their questions about her dead baby's bruises.

"At the time you were rolling your eyes at the police officers, your child had been dead for less than six hours, is that correct?" attorney, Steve Frey, asked Jakes.

"That's probably right," she said. Very little of the 27-year-old mother's story seemed stable, as she testified in Clayton County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon.

Her former boyfriend, 27-year-old Philanders Lamont Bowie, is on trial, charged with beating Makayla Denise Valley to death in July 2005. He was babysitting the child when her liver ruptured, allegedly from a violent beating.

Jakes has publicly accused her former boyfriend, the boy she met in 10th grade geometry class, of killing her daughter. She has publicly pushed to have Bowie face the death penalty.

On Thursday, Jakes took the stand to recount events as she remembered them. A lot of her story seemed vague. She couldn't remember if an infected mosquito bite that sent her scurrying to the emergency room was by her daughter's right eye, or left. Asked about her daughter's health and about any of the times the little girl had thrown up during the month before she died, Jakes apparently forgot to mention key incidents.

Under cross examination, her story seemed shaky, and sometimes wildly contradictory. In answers to some questions, like whether or not she cried, Jakes took every possible position.

The defense attorney, Steve Frey, said his questioning of Jakes is designed to show that she lies, as he said in his opening argument, and that she can't be trusted when she accuses Bowie of beating her daughter to death. Frey is expected to argue that Jakes has been covering up "chronic abuse," which started long before Bowie was around.

During Frey's cross examination, Jakes made contradictory statements about the injuries Valley had before her death; the date of the last time the child had been to a hospital; what happened at the hospital; what medicine the child was on; the number of holes in the walls of the apartment; the timeline of events; if officers told her the child died of natural causes, and if she cried.

The trial recessed on Thursday night without concluding Jakes' testimony. She is scheduled to return to the witness stand at 9 a.m., in Judge Albert Collier's courtroom.

Prosecuting attorney, John Turner, has said the woman's testimony isn't central to his case against Bowie. During opening arguments, he promised the nine women and five men of the jury that Bowie's own words would convict him of murder.

"Philanders Bowie is a liar, and the truth of his lies will come from his own lips," Turner said.

Turner is expected to play a video recording of the Bowie's alleged confession, sometime on Friday.

The trial is expected to continue into next week.