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"Detective Testifies About Interrogating Dayton Mother Accused in Baby’s Death"

A Dayton Police detective took the stand Friday to testify about interviewing a mother who is accused in the death of her baby.

Wanisha Smith, 34, is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge and an endangering children charge in connection to the death of her 1-year-old son, Darius Hall Jr. A statement of facts by police says Smith admitted that on or about May 16, her son was injured when his head bumped a chair. She allegedly told police that she knew he was hurt, but never attempted to provide medical care, according to an affidavit.

ExploreDayton officer recounts finding dead baby alone“She then left him alone ... knowing doing so would cause him to die,” a court affidavit in the case said. She’s pleaded not guilty in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and is being held in the Montgomery County Jail.

Smith’s attorney, Jeffery Hunter, filed a motion to suppress in the case. He previously told Judge Mary Montgomery that the defense wants the court to toss out statements made by Smith to police. The motion says that Smith was on a multi-day alcoholic binge that included different types of whiskey and other alcohol.

The motion to suppress hearing began last month when Dayton police officer Sarah Moody testified about finding the baby alone and dead June 9, 2020, in an apartment on North James H. McGee after a call came in for a welfare check.

Dayton Police Detective Zachary Fehrman testified Friday that he interrogated Smith at the Dayton Public Safety building shortly after the child was found.

“She was upset obviously,” Fehrman said of Smith.

“She cried at points, I think at some points she even expressed that she was upset,” Fehrman expanded when questioned by Hunter.

Fehrman said during the hearing that he did not see any indication that Smith was intoxicated or impaired during the interrogation. He said the woman told him that she had finished drinking at around 2 a.m. that morning.

The interrogation took place around 5 p.m. Moody also previously told the court that she did not smell alcohol on Smith when she transported her to the public safety building for questioning.

Hunter said that Smith told the detective that she had been drinking and had been in “a state of drunkenness every day since the incident.”

The judge did not rule on the motion to suppress Friday. A next court date has been set in the case for August.

Author: Parker Perry, Dayton Daily News

Date: CRIME & LAW| July 9, 2021

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