Mother Accused of Abuse Takes Stand in Defense

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A Marshall County woman testified for over six hours Tuesday to provide explanations for more than 100 bruises and scrapes observed on her young son in May 2011.

Yuliana Torres and her husband Angel are accused of aggravated child abuse towards their two-year-old child.

Jurors heard all the questions and answers in two languages, as Marshall County bailiff Steve Connolly served as interpreter for Yuliana Torres, who speaks Spanish.

The family visited a doctor May 26, 2011, and earlier in the trial that physician testified he had not seen the dozens of bruises observed by another doctor the next day.

They went to a scheduled appointment May 27 at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, and the doctor there reported the scrapes, bruises, and bite marks on the boy's shoulder and foot.

He also had two hairline fractures in his left arm.

Torres testified the boy fell out of bed the night of May 26 and broke his arm.

She said her son scratched himself and often hit his head against things, and said bite marks on his shoulder and foot were self-inflicted.

She said the child has eczema and he bruises and scrapes easily.

He was taken into protective custody May 27 after social workers got involved in the case.

District Attorney Steve Marshall frequently directed Torres and the jurors to look at a poster, which had two pictures of the boy side by side.

One was taken by social workers May 27, and the other about three weeks later.

The second picture showed the boy had healed.

Marshall said all that changed was the toddler was away from his parents.

Torres said there was one other variable, which is that the child was not on his medication while in DHR custody.

The boy was born several weeks premature, and weighed only five pounds, one ounce, at his one month wellness check.

Marshall said the child soon began to thrive, as he weighed 18 pounds at his nine month wellness check.

However, he only weighed about 20 pounds when he was taken away from his parents at 28 months old.

Prosecutors provided evidence the boy gained two pounds in just 10 days in foster care, which was more weight than he gained in the previous 19 months combined.

Torres said the child had trouble gaining weight due to constant diarrhea, and said he lost six pounds in a three-month span before he turned two years old.

She and her husband were able to see their son at routine visits at a park and a McDonald's in Arab during his five months in foster care.

The defense submitted photos of the child taken at those visits, which they said show the boy still had bruises and scrapes even while in protective custody.

Prosecutors argued those are the standard bumps of any toddler, and not the more than 100 scrapes, scabs, and scars seen when the child was with his parents.

Torres will finish her testimony Wednesday, and one more witness is expected before the sides make their closing arguments.