Case of microwaved baby goes to jury

GALVESTON, TX But prosecutors countered during closing arguments in the trial of /*Joshua Mauldin*/ that anger, not insanity, was the reason the Arkansas man injured his daughter Ana, who suffered burns in the hotel microwave oven.

Jurors began deliberating Mauldin's fate Monday afternoon.

Mauldin, 20, claims he was insane and going through a psychotic episode at the time he put his daughter Ana in a microwave for 10 to 20 seconds in May.

Mauldin is charged with felony injury to a child and faces up to life in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which the state defines as a severe mental illness that prevents someone who is committing a crime from knowing that it is wrong.

The jury could find him guilty, not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity.

"Who knows what happened in (the hotel). It's not that I'm saying he didn't do it but if he did it, he's crazy," defense attorney Sam Cammack III told jurors in closing arguments after a six-day trial. "I'm saying this kid has had mental illness all of his life."

Michael Fuller, a psychiatrist who examined Mauldin, testified Mauldin had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and had claimed to hear voices since he was 10.

But Fuller could not say Mauldin was insane at the time he is accused of hurting his daughter, said Galveston County prosecutor Xochitl Vandiver.

Vandiver told jurors that while the circumstances of Ana's injuries are sensational, the reason is "run of the mill."

She said Mauldin was angry that he was in a loveless marriage and was stuck in a new town with a baby he didn't want to take care of anymore. He had just moved to Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of Houston, from Warren, Ark., when Ana was injured.

Vandiver said Mauldin has a history of anger and violence. On the night he was left alone with his daughter, he took out his frustrations on her, first punching her in the groin, then stuffing her in a hotel safe and a refrigerator before putting her in the microwave.

"He knew what he was doing. He knowingly hurt that baby because he was angry with her," she said.

But Cammack said Mauldin was a loving father who tried to run into traffic and kill himself after realizing what had happened.

"Everything was going right in his life when he came to Galveston. He was going to be a minister," Cammack said. "What happened to this man in that room that night, will we ever know? No."

During his closing arguments, as he has done during the trial, Cammack argued that Ana might have been accidentally burned by scalding hot water as her father claimed and initial evaluations by doctors suggested.

But Vandiver said that Mauldin has a history of lying, including about being mentally ill, to get out of trouble. He initially claimed his daughter was severely sunburned.

"All (Mauldin) has done is try to wrap himself in some psychiatric flag and say, 'I did it and I was crazy,"' Vandiver told jurors. "That's what he's trying to pull on you all. Don't fall for it because it is a lie."

Ana suffered second- and third-degree burns to her left ear, cheek, hand and shoulder and required two skin grafts. Part of her left ear had to be amputated.

Officials say Ana, now 1, is still receiving treatment but is doing well and living with relatives in Texas.

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