Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Trial Paused for Grieving Mother

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Trial Paused for Grieving Mother

Article excerpt

A murder trial took an unscheduled break Tuesday afternoon when the mother of the 2-year-old victim became overwhelmed with grief.

The mother, Fawn Mack, was describing how she found the body of her child early on the morning of March 12, 2006.

"I remember going to my son's room and my son was lying in his bed," Mack said. "He didn't look right."

Mack said she went to the child, Eli J. Clemens, and "just started screaming."

"He was frozen," Mack said.

At that point in her testimony, Mack was crying and unable to continue. The judge called for a 15-minute break.

Tuesday was the second day in the trial of Johnathan Davion Mango, who is charged with reckless second-degree murder in the boy's blunt trauma death.

During opening statements, jurors saw photographs of Clemens still in his pajamas, as well as four injuries he suffered to his head.

When court resumed, Mack, 32, testified she and her parents hustled the child to a car to drive him to Stormont Vail Hospital.

Mango didn't accompany his fiancee and her son to the hospital but remained at the apartment where Mack and the child lived, Mack testified.

Hospital staff took the boy from Mack's arms and tried to restore his breathing with a mask. Eventually, the child's body was placed in Mack's arms, she testified.

"Nothing I said or did was going to bring him back," she said. "I remember being angry because I couldn't do anything."y

After the child's funeral several days after his death, Mango was talking about still wanting to get married before the couple's daughter was born. That child was due shortly.

Mango also was upset because his name hadn't been listed in the funeral program for Eli Clemens' service, Mack said.

"That doesn't matter," she told Mango. "What matters is my son is in the grave, and I can't see him again."

When Mack was interviewed by Topeka police Detective Mike Barron, she saw photographs showing injuries on the child's body, including dark areas on his head, a seeping wound to his navel that looked worse than it earlier had, and red dots on his feet, Mack testified. …

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