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Babysitter will stand trial in death of Utah infant
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Attorneys on Monday sparred over when a 4-month-old boy suffered the injuries that killed him and if his babysitter could have inflicted them.

The dispute was aired in a preliminary hearing for Jennifer Duran Martinez. At the end of the hearing, 3rd District Judge Andrew Stone decided there is enough evidence for Martinez to stand trial in the death of 4-month-old Kaysen Calhoun. Martinez, 36, is charged with the first-degree felony murder of the boy she was baby sitting on Sept. 22.

Martinez and the infant's mother, Hailey Calhoun, were neighbors at a Murray apartment complex and became friends about when Kaysen was born. That September afternoon, Calhoun had to go pick up her daughters from their grandparents.

"[Martinez] said to me, you can leave Kaysen here. I'll watch him. He'll be fine," Calhoun testified.

She left Kaysen, who had been sick and vomited in the car that week, with Martinez about 4 p.m.

About an hour later, Martinez realized something was wrong with the boy and tried to call the mother five times without success. Then she called 911. A police officer and paramedics arrived to find Martinez distraught and trying to resuscitate Kaysen, according to the testimony from Murray police officer Kevin Johnston. Kaysen was rushed to the hospital, where doctors found he was brain dead.

Murray police detective Nathan Pentico interviewed Martinez that night. She told him that she heard the infant spitting up, went to check on him and saw he was spitting up blood, Pentico testified.

Calhoun agreed to remove Kaysen from life support two days later.

A medical examiner and a child abuse specialist told Pentico the infant died from someone shaking him. The doctors testified in court about Kaysen's fractured ribs and head trauma.

Pentico questioned Martinez again on Sept. 26. After Pentico relayed what the doctors said, Martinez admitted to shaking the boy, Pentico testified Monday.

But defense attorney Andrea Garland pointed to an initial report from a treating physician who said Kaysen's trauma happened 10 to 12 hours before his hospital admission — before Martinez was babysitting him — based on the color of the boy's blood.

When Garland asked Pentico why he did not tell Martinez about the 10 to 12 hours, he said he thought the treating physician was wrong. The medical examiner and the specialist testified that an infant would be unresponsive or unconscious within minutes of being shook, and Pentico worked with that assessment.

Garland, after court, said she wonders if there was any emotional or mental coercion of Martinez during police questioning.

Calhoun testified Kaysen was concious and alert when she left him in Martinez's arms that afternoon. The infant was fussy and staring at her over Martinez's shoulder as the babysitter walked away with him.

"He was staring right at me, like he wanted his mom," Calhoun said.

Martinez's trial is scheduled for Sept. 10.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Murray • Defense wonders if client was coerced into admitting guilt.
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