Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deathbed confession frees baby's father

Updated: Friday, 19 Nov 2010, 8:43 PM CST
Published : Friday, 19 Nov 2010, 7:36 PM CST

JOHNSON CITY, Texas (KXAN) - Poinsettias surround Kayla Bible's granite headstone at a cemetery in Johnson City. The infant's death on May 27, 2008 came just three months after she was born. A square plaque wedged in the ground reads "...only God knows why."

According to her autopsy report, the Kayla had two skull fractures, 23 healing rib fractures and internal bleeding in the stomach. He found numerous bruises all over her 10-pound body -- 16 were in the stomach alone. The medical examiner decided the baby died of "blunt force trauma."

After a three month investigation, detectives pointed the finger at Kayla's father, 43-year-old Jerry Bible. He was indicted and arrested for his daughter's murder in August of 2008.

As of Thursday morning, the case was dismissed. The father's capital murder charge was dropped and Bible who has been out on bond was a free man.

Burnet County Sheriff W.T. Smith was the lead Blanco County investigator at the time.

"I'm confident or I wouldn't have gotten a warrant for the man's arrest," said Smith.

Bible's defense attorney, Hector Uribe, believes detectives went after the wrong family member.

"At the time Jerry was arrested and considered a suspect there was very little evidence," said Uribe.

The baby's grandparents had started watching the baby during the day, according to Uribe. On the day Kayla died, the grandmother told Uribe she was wearing a baby monitor outside and heard a crash while her husband, Robert Bible, was in the nursery.

In the last month Robert died, and the defense attorney said his family recorded evidence to prove he killed his granddaughter. Two days before he passed away, Robert's wife and daughter pulled out a cell phone video camera and started rolling.

"The grandmother has asked the grandfather if he hurt Kayla and he said 'yes, I kicked her too hard,'" said Uribe.

Uribe said he turned the clip over to District Attorney Sam Oatman.

"We're still pursuing getting documentation of this evidence, but we have some already," said Oatman.

Oatman decided the new evidence needed to be added to the old evidence and represented to a Blanco County grand jury.

"We certainly wouldn't want the wrong person to be convicted of this type of crime," said Oatman. "So it's my job to be sure that we are proceeding on a case we can prove."

The lead investigator is skeptical about the video tape.

"Here it is 2010 and so it's two and a half years after," said Smith. "So that to me makes it questionable in and of itself."

According to court documents, the capital murder case had been set to go to trial four different times since October of 2009. The next trial date was Nov. 29. Oatman did not feel the judge would grant a continuance and said he had no other choice than to file a motion to dismiss.

If a jury would have been picked, and prosecutors were not ready to go to trial then double jeopardy would have come into play. There would have been no way to try the case again.

The defense attorney said he is confident a grand jury will decide there is not enough evidence to re-indict Jerry Bible. Oatman said they might be able to present the new evidence behind closed doors as soon as December.

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