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Doctors, baby's mother testify on Day 1 of Brownwood capital murder trial

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - The baby daughter of a Brownwood teenager accused of capital murder died of "non-accidental" trauma, District Attorney Micheal Murray said during opening statements Tuesday.

Jekaris Bryant, 19, is accused of killing his 28-day-old baby on Dec. 13, 2015. He appeared at the Brown County Courthouse Tuesday for the first day of his capital murder trial. He waived his right to a trial by jury.

Bryant initially told a Texas Ranger during the investigative stage of the case that he tried to give his daughter, Breyla Ann, CPR after she choked on baby formula.

Murray said Bryant's daughter, Breyla Ann, had 32 rib fractures that aren't consistent with resuscitation efforts.

Murray called Dr. Stephen Nichols to the witness stand. Nichols was Brownwood Regional Medical Center's emergency room doctor who treated Breyla the day she died.

Nichols testified that no evidence existed of the baby choking on formula. He also said he observed the baby had a severe diaper rash.

Dr. Scott Morris, a Brownwood pediatrician, also took the stand. He treated Breyla when she was taken to the ER and saw the child on Dec. 7 at his private practice for a checkup.

He told the court the baby was shaken violently "for a sustained amount of time" and said he saw the second worst diaper rash he's ever seen in his 15 year career.

The child's mom and Bryant's current girlfriend, Makahla Brewster, also testified on Tuesday. She told the court she believed the baby was asleep and not dead on the afternoon of Dec. 13.

She and a friend went to Walmart to buy more baby formula. She said that when she returned, she asked if Bryant thought Breyla looked pale. That's when she discovered her child wasn't breathing and rushed her to the emergency room.

She said she stands by Bryant's version of events, claiming Breyla's death was accidental and not intentional as the prosecution believes.

Day two of Bryant's capital murder trial begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday with the lead detective expected to testify.

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