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Trial continues for father accused in son's death

By Mehgaan Jones

mjones@news-daily.com

A state investigating official told jurors in Clayton County, Tuesday, that she determined the death of a toddler last year, was the result of murder, based on "very significant injuries involved with the head."

Deputy Chief Examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Dr. Lora Darrisaw, testified that she found major swelling to the head of Ja'Mari Myckahi Jones, along with bruises and heavy bleeding, when she conducted an autopsy on the child.

The toddler's father, Jamall Decarlos Mathis, 20 , is accused of killing his 17-month-old son, on September 17, 2009.

Testimony in the trial is scheduled to continue today.

"The entirety of his scalp was bloody," GBI examiner Darrisaw testified.

An executive assistant to the Clayton County District Attorney, Lalaine Briones, asked Darrisaw her conclusion to the cause of death.

"The manner of death assigned was homicide," testified Darrisaw. She added that Jones' injuries were not consistent with the child falling off the bed, as defense attorneys claimed.

According to a previous report, by the Clayton News Daily, Jamall Mathis' attorney, Leon Hicks, said that Mathis left the child in the room alone, as he went to use the computer.

Hicks said Mathis heard his son fall off the bed, and the toddler eventually stopped breathing.

The child's maternal great-grandfather, Bruce Holmes, testified Tuesday, that Mathis did discuss with doctors, and family, the cause of the child's injuries.

"There were numerous changes as to how it happened," Holmes said on the stand. He said that he never got a satisfactory answer as to what happened to Ja'Mari Jones. Holmes added that he saw no emotion from Mathis.

During a trial break, the great-grandfather said that the family has been dealing with this case for over a year now. "He [Jamall] just sits there as if nothing happened," Holmes added.

Most of the witnesses who testified Tuesday said that Mathis seemed unemotional at the hospital, following his son's death.

The defense attorney argued that the statements about emotion were a matter of opinion, and said Mathis' demeanor could have been calm.

Clayton County Police Investigator Kris Stewart testified that he was present at the scene of the crime, to collect evidence.

Stewart explained to the jury how he made casts of baseball bats, which were found in the home, for evidence. According to the prosecution, Mathis used a bat in the alleged attack on the toddler.

Defense attorney Leon Hicks cross-examined Stewart by asking if the bats were checked for blood, residue, and if the objects were sent to a lab.

Stewart replied no to all of the questions.

On the witness stand Monday, Tyasia Jones, the toddler's mother, testified for the prosecution.

"He [Jamall Mathis] did not come to the funeral," Tyasia Jones said. She said the father's family also did not attend the funeral.

According to Jeremy Lacey, Jamal Mathis' brother, the family of the victim, and Mathis' family got into a dispute at the hospital.

"The police said stay away... so that ruled out going to the funeral," he said in court.

The child's maternal grandmother, Lisa Holmes, said that if she had known that Ja'Mari Jones was spending the night with his father, the night before the toddler's death, the boy would not have gone to Mathis' house.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. today, in Clayton County Superior Court, with Judge Deborah Benefield presiding.