Guilty verdict in murder trial of Roderick Fountain for his role in death of 3-year-old son

October 27, 2011 3:46:10 AM PDT
A Harris Co. jury returned a guilty verdict Wednesday in the trial of Roderick Fountain for his role in the death of his 3-year-old son back in 2006.

Both sides delivered their closing arguments Wednesday and then the case went to the jury. Jurors had to decide if Fountain killed his son, even though the body of little Kendrick Jackson was never found.

Our crew in the courtroom said there was no visible reaction from Fountain as the verdict was read.

The punishment phase of the trial will begin Thursday morning. Now that Fountain is convicted of felony murder, he could be sentenced up to life in prison.

Earlier developments

In a courtroom Wednesday, Fountain never wavered from his stare. He stayed focused on prosecutor Connie Spence while she was shouting to the jury, describing how she believes Fountain nearly drowned his 3-year-old son during a bath.

"Between the cries and between the gasps for air, he kept crying. Can you imagine?" Spence said.

She spent most of closing arguments reiterating previous testimony she says proves Fountain was abusive towards his son and regularly beat the child. And it was a beating in April of 2006 that got out of hand, Spence told the jury.

"It happens just like that -- it doesn't take a lot of planning. It doesn't take hours -- if you hit a kid, and we know he didn't have no problems hitting that kid," said Spence.

The defense was less flamboyant, telling the jury not to use their emotions to decide the case.

"Tell me where you have a body of Kendrick Jackson that says he was injured during a felony," said defense attorney Charles Brown. "This case is about credibility versus veracity. They (the prosecution) would love you to think he was the only one lying -- Mr. Fountain."

Despite a massive search five years ago, Jackson's body was never found. He was reported missing back in April of 2006. Fountain helped in the search. He told police his son wandered outside and became lost.

"You have no proof that he was injured on 4/6 or 4/7/2006. None. Absolutely, positively none," said Brown.

The defense did not call any witnesses during the trial, saying the prosecution's case was based on circumstantial evidence.

The judge began Wednesday morning by reading the charge, which is the jury's instructions. The jury not only considered a murder charge, but also a lesser charge of causing serious bodily injury to a child.

On Tuesday, Kendrick's mother testified that his Fountain beat him, but there is no CPS record of abuse. A jailhouse informant also testified that Fountain told him he'd beaten the boy to death and disposed of the body.

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