Tuesday, August 03, 1999

Child's beating is told on tape




BY DAN HORN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Belanda Moore says she loved her daughter Jasmine more than her other two children.

        It was that love, she says, that led her to beat the 7-year-old with a rolled belt, kick her in the stomach and “stomp” her chest.

        “I was just tryin' to show her, you know,” Ms. Moore told police in February. “I wanted the best for her. I didn't know it would lead to this.”

        The tape of her interview with detectives was played in court Monday as prosecutors discussed the evidence they will present this week at Ms. Moore's murder trial.

        Ms. Moore, 29, is accused of fatally injuring Jasmine while punishing the girl for misbehaving at school.

        Assistant prosecutor Richard Gibson said Jasmine, who suffered a lacerated kidney and liver, died the next day after Ms. Moore failed to seek immediate medical attention.

        In the taped interview, Ms. Moore told police she beat her daughter with a belt on Feb. 12 because the girl lied to her about a discipline problem at school.

        She said she “hog-tied” the girl and struck her as many as 15 times with the leather belt, sometimes with the buckle.

"I loved her more'
        “I was just hittin' anywhere,” she said in the interview. “She kept movin' her legs and that's when my knee kept goin' into her stomach.”

        When it was over, she said, Jasmine told her she was “sorry” and began vomiting. She said she made the girl help clean up the mess before sending her to her room.

        “I loved her more than any of my kids,” Ms. Moore said. “That's why I was probably so hard on her.”

        Later that night, Ms. Moore said, she held a party at her Winton Hills apartment for friends who stopped by to drink vodka and listen to music.

        She said she found her daughter in the bathroom the next morning, crying for help.

        “She kept saying, "Momma, Momma,'” Ms. Moore recalled. “And all of a sudden she just stopped talking ... And I said this is not the time to be playin' with me, Jasmine. Don't play with me.”

        Ms. Moore said she called 911 when she realized the girl had stopped breathing.

        Attorneys on both sides of the case spent most of the trial's first day arguing about Ms. Moore's taped statement and whether a jury should be allowed to hear it.

Rights at issue
        Ms. Moore's attorney, Pete Rosenwald, said his client was so overwhelmed with grief that she could not understand what police meant when they informed her of her constitutional rights.

        Detective Bill Couch testified that Ms. Moore seemed to understand what was going on and was unemotional about Jasmine's death.

        “Her demeanor was somewhat non-caring for someone whose daughter had just died,” Detective Couch testified.

        Judge Robert Kraft ruled that a jury could hear the statement, concluding that Ms. Moore had received adequate warnings about her rights.

        Jury selection then began.

       



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