Erica Bell, the woman accused of murdering three-year-old Brook Stagles, was back on the stand Wednesday.
The defense has indicated since their opening statements that they believe Bell took false responsibility for Brook’s death for her boyfriend and Brook’s father, Michael Stagles.
During her hours of testimony on the stand Tuesday and Wednesday, Bell says Stagles was often abusive physically and emotionally. She says she took on a motherly role for Brook and was a caretaker.
While on the stand, Bell says she repeatedly told the lie that she hit Brook before she died because
“if I told, I was scared… When I eventually got home that we would get into an argument. I don’t know what he would do.”
The second witness the defense called to the stand on Wednesday is an expert on domestic violence. While the defense questioned her about patterns in abusive relationships and related in back to Bell taking responsibility for Brook’s death, the prosecution pointed out that she never interviewed Bell or Michael Stagles and wasn’t aware of the specifics of this case.
Defense attorneys say they have one more witness to call to the stand Thursday morning. Judge Ciaccio has asked for closing arguments to be presented Immediately afterwards.