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Trial begins for woman accused of killing infant

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    Angie Walker looks back at her family during her trial at Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Monday. Walker is on trial for aggravated murder for the April 26, 2017 death of her boyfriend's 7-month-old son, Levi Ashley.

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    Toledo Paramedic Doug Hamon describes the scene during Angie Walker's trial at Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

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    Angie Walker looks at her attorney during her trial at Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

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    Judge Linda Jennings listens to testimonies during Angie Walker's trial at Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

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    Michelle Bednar testifies during Angie Walker's trial at Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

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Angie Walker was the last person to care for her boyfriend’s not-quite-7-month-old son before the infant became critically ill.

While prosecutors allege Ms. Walker, 41, inflicted the abusive head trauma that killed Levi Ashley last year, Ms. Walker’s defense attorney told a jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Monday that they won’t learn for sure how or why Baby Levi died.

Meira Zucker said in her opening statement that medical experts failed to perform tests their own protocol called for and failed to examine samples. Investigators ignored and discarded evidence, she said.

“What we have here is prosecution by default,” Ms. Zucker said.

“[Baby Levi’s] death is a tragedy, but the state of Ohio should have looked at all of the reasons that Levi died, but they didn’t,” she said. “The best time to uncover the truth is right at the offense, and the state failed. The state failed Levi.”

Ms. Walker of the 300 block of East Broadway is on trial for aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, and endangering children for allegedly causing the injuries on April 25, 2017, that led to Baby Levi’s death the next day after life support was removed at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center.

Charles McDonald, an assistant county prosecutor, told the jury in his opening statement that Ms. Walker had driven her boyfriend, Antonio “Tony” Burkey, to work the morning of April 25 and brought Baby Levi along. Ms. Walker and the baby then went home.

“Levi was fine at 8:15 a.m. He was a baby, so he was perfect — happy and healthy,” Mr. McDonald said. “And at 10:40 a.m., he was brain dead.”

He said it could have been a shake, a hit, a combination. Mr. McDonald said Mr. Burkey had been planning to leave his much-older girlfriend, that Ms. Walker was “obsessed” with him.

“Between 8 o’clock and 10:40 on April 25, Levi was with one person and one person alone,” Mr. McDonald said, pointing to Ms. Walker. “He was with her. He was with her when his blood vessels were ruptured. ... He was with her when his eyes were detached from themselves because that’s what she did.”

Michelle Bednar, who owned the Oregon home where Ms. Walker and Mr. Burkey were staying at the time, testified that she heard Baby Levi cry that morning then heard Ms. Walker run into the room where Ms. Bednar was sleeping, crying for help for the baby.

She said her boyfriend at the time took the child from Ms. Walker, and she called 911, asking for help for an unresponsive baby. Oregon police and paramedics arrived at the Waterfox Drive home minutes later.

Asked by Mr. McDonald if Ms. Walker made any statements after she returned from the hospital later that day, Ms. Bednar said she had.

“She said, ‘What are they going to do to me if I did something to that baby? Take my son?’ “ Ms. Bednar said.

Ms. Walker then gathered her personal belongings and left the house, Ms. Bednar said.

The trial, which is expected to last all week, continues Tuesday morning in the courtoom of Judge Linda Jennings.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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