Trial begins for Air Force sergeant accused of beating his daughter, just days old

Updated: Feb. 12, 2020 at 8:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -A military prosecutor said Air Force Sgt. Caleb Humphrey “savagely” beat his seven-day old daughter in 2017, causing her to suffer seizures and permanent brain damage.

The prosecutor, Capt. Grant Farnsworth, said Humphrey then waited two days before taking Avaline Beyer to the hospital, telling one friend in a Facebook message that he was growing frustrated watching the girl by himself.

"She's been yelling at me all day," Humphrey's message said.

The Facebook message was among the highlights in today's opening arguments in the court martial case against the airman. In another Facebook message to the same friend, the 33-year-old Kapolei resident explained why he didn't immediately take his daughter to the hospital.

"I don't want them to think I beat my child," Humphrey's message said.

But prosecutors said that's exactly what he did.

“She had skull fractures and leg fractures … This can only be explained by one way: Child abuse,” said Farnsworth.

The girl is now on the mainland in foster care.

The case of baby Avaline triggered authorities to look into the suspicious death of her brother, five-week-old Grayson Beyer who died in 2016 after suffering similar injuries.

In documents, military investigators suggested that Humphrey and his wife Natasha Beyer were financially strapped and wanted insurance money.

"That's as horrendous as it gets. That's murder for money," said defense attorney Victor Bakke, whose firm specializes in military criminal cases.

"Usually the child abuse cases involve people with poor impulse control. They just snap, whether it's the mother or the father."

But the couple denied any financial problems and Humphrey's lawyer said prosecutors can't prove that he was responsible.

"None of the (experts) will be able to tell what happened, when it happened, where and why," said Capt. Roza Sheffield.

Trial resumes Thursday.

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