8:47 AM
Brenda Jean Caringer (mug shot GCSO)

Testimony will begin tomorrow in the murder trial of a woman from Willard charged with killing a 9 month-old little boy she was babysitting.

Jury selection was set to begin today for Brenda Jean Caringer, 55, however she waived her right to a jury trial this morning.  Now Judge Calvin Holden will hear the bench trial.

Prosecutors have charged Caringer with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death for the January 6, 2009, death of nine-month-old Lucas Payton Theede-Bennett.

Both second degree murder and the alternate charge of abuse of a child resulting in death cover all aspects of this case. Now Judge Holden will decide if Caringer intended to kill the baby or if abuse of the baby caused his death.....or neither.

Lucas Payton Theede-Bennett (family photo)

An autopsy determined the infant died from abusive head injuries that are consistent with a crushed skull, and bleeding on the brain. The doctor that performed the autopsy said the baby's injuries were not more than two hours old and that Lucas would have been symptomatic immediately.

Assistant prosecutors Jill Geary Patterson and Russ Dempsey are handling the case for the state; David Back is Caringer's attorney.

UPDATE 01-21-11:

Judge Holden found Caringer guilty and sentenced her to 15 years in prison for baby Lucas' death.