Gerald Gene Blubaugh's defense attorney told the jury his defendant's case was a "big puzzle with lots of pieces" during opening arguments of his murder trial in 4th District Court Thursday.
The 50 potential witnesses would provide some of the puzzle pieces, defense attorney John Musselman said.The prosecutor said the state would present evidence proving Blubaugh was guilty of killing his live-in girlfriend's 14-month-old daughter.
Faith Barney died Aug. 8, 1992, at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, three days after she was brought to Mountain View Hospital in Payson suffering from seizures. Her brain swelled to the point that doctors turned off respirators and the baby died. An autopsy found a fractured skull and hemorrhaging in the area between the scalp and skull.
"Quite frankly, this child was mistreated for a long period of time before she died," Musselman said. But he blamed the abuse on the baby's 18-year-old mother, Christy Lyn Barney of Spanish Fork, who was once charged with the death but later pleaded no contest to child abuse.
Ambulance driver Mark Byers said the baby was pale, with her eyes rolled back in her head and in a seizure when he arrived at Barney's home in Spanish Fork on the morning of Aug. 8. Byers also testified that the baby's mother showed no emotion or anxiety about her child's condition.
But Brian Shiozawa, the first doctor to examine the baby, said Christy Barney was crying and was concerned about her child. He also said the baby was critically ill when admitted to the hospital. The child had a rapid heart rate, a fever of 104 degrees, a bruise on the left eye and a cast on her arm, he said.
Dee Rosenbaum, Spanish Fork police chief, interviewed Blubaugh on Aug. 8 and said he cooperated with the investigation. Rosenbaum testified that Blubaugh told him he had woken up at 5 a.m. on Aug. 8 and heard the baby breathing irregulary. He woke Christy Barney to tell her about the baby's condition and then left for work, he said.