Jury deliberates fate of mom charged with murdering daughter - WKRN News 2

Jury deliberates fate of mom charged with murdering daughter

Posted: Updated: Dec 2, 2011 03:48 PM CST
Deborah Mark is charged with first degree murder and several counts of child abuse. Deborah Mark is charged with first degree murder and several counts of child abuse.
Steven Mark took the stand on Thursday but declined to testify. Steven Mark took the stand on Thursday but declined to testify.
LEBANON, Tenn. -

Jurors in Wilson County are deliberating the fate of a former Mid-State pediatrician Friday afternoon charged with killing her adopted daughter nearly two years ago.

The defense wrapped up their case late Friday morning after calling a Mt. Juliet police detective and several character witnesses to the stand.

Closing arguments took place after lunch and the jury was charged around 3:40 p.m.

Deborah Mark is charged with first degree murder and four counts each of aggravated child abuse and child abuse.

Prosecutors allege she severely beat her daughter over the three-month period from when she was adopted from China until the day she died, delivering the fatal blow on the night of June 30, 2010 when she threw her daughter onto a bed so hard her head smacked the wall, knocking her unconscious.

Kairissa died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center the following day.

On the stand Friday, Mt. Juliet police Det. David Stolinsky detailed statements made by Mark's husband Steven in the hours following his daughter's death.

Judge David Durham certain statements Steven Mark made could be included in the trial, even though he chose not to testify on Thursday, acting, he said, on the advice of his attorney.

Det. Stolinsky said Steven Mark told him he would spank Kairissa, often put ice cubes in Kairissa's mouth, make her do wall sits and give her cold showers.

Steven Mark is charged with multiple counts of child abuse in the case.  He pleaded not guilty and is out of jail on bond while awaiting trial.

Deborah Mark's defense says she loved her daughter despite the child's serious behavioral and medical problems.

Attorney Jack Lowery told jurors Mark was only trying to help the girl on the night of June 30, 2010 and didn't mean to hurt her.

The defense also called several character witnesses to the stand Friday including two nurses who worked with Mark at her pediatrician's office in Wilson County and a mother whose daughter was a patient of Mark's.

Both nurses told the courtroom Mark was patient and kind toward children in her office, but admitted they never met Kairissa or saw Mark interact with her.

The mother characterized Mark as "loving and nurturing" but like the other witnesses, had never met Kairissa or saw her with her mother.

Kairissa died of acute blunt force trauma.

Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Deering testified Thursday the little girl had extensive bleeding in her brain and down to her spine, in addition to multiple rib fractures and bruising.  He said her injuries were not accidental.

In closing arguments, the prosecution said Kairissa just needed to be loved, but instead was beaten and battered for 83 days until she died.

The defense spoke briefly about reasonable doubt and again portrayed Mark as a victim of an abusive husband, placing blame for Kairissa's injuries and ultimate death on Steven Mark.

Lowery asked the jury "Is she strong enough to do this to a little girl?" implying Kairissa's injuries could only have been inflicted by a much taller and stronger person and that being Mark's husband.

Mark is charged with first degree murder but jurors can find her guilty of lesser charges, including reckless homicide and criminally negligent homicide.

Judge Durham said jurors can deliberate as long as they want to Friday night.

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