Trial begins for Griffith man charged in death of ex-girlfriend's son

2012-09-24T17:45:00Z 2012-09-24T21:39:05Z Trial begins for Griffith man charged in death of ex-girlfriend's sonSusan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com
September 24, 2012 5:45 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | The trial of a Griffith man facing murder charges in the death of his then-girlfriend's 3-year-old son began Monday with jury selection.

The trial of Levi Hiatt, 28, has been delayed since February when Hiatt unexpectedly fired his attorney after jurors had been selected and opening statements were slated to begin.

The surprise firing led to the near collapse of the child's mother. Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell fined Hiatt for costs incurred during jury selection.

Now represented by Valparaiso attorney Larry Rogers, Hiatt also faces multiple felony child neglect charges in the death of Comer Watkins sometime between April 11 and April 12, 2010, while the boy's mother was at work.

A probable cause affidavit states police were called at 2 p.m. April 12 to the Griffith home shared by the couple after Hiatt called the boy's mother at work to tell her the boy was unresponsive.

The child died of head injuries after being airlifted to the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Hiatt told police he injured the boy when he landed on the boy's genitals after jumping onto the bed to wake him up, the affidavit states. After becoming frustrated with the crying child, Hiatt pulled the boy forward by the legs into the bathroom where he fell backward and hit his head on the bathtub and floor, the affidavit states.

Hiatt is alleged to have waited 19 hours before calling 911 after the boy is believed to have been injured.

The trial resumes at 10 a.m. Tuesday with opening statements by the prosecution and the defense.

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