Child of suspect in BREC Park murders: 'he cut my momma's neck'

Trindel Mathews
Trindel Mathews
Dominique Smith
Dominique Smith

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There were heated exchanges in a Baton Rouge courtroom between the defense attorney for the man accused in the BREC park murders and the prosecution's star witness Wednesday morning.

Darryl Gold, the attorney for Dominique Smith, hammered away at Trindel Mathews as she failed time and time again to remember what happened on May 4, 2008.

Mathews has been on the stand since Tuesday. She claims she was not aware Smith, her boyfriend at the time, had fathered five children from three different women.

Defense attorneys suggest Mathews did the killings because she was jealous of one of the victims, Jessica Palmer, who died in the attack.

Smith is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder. He is accused of killing Jessica Palmer and her son, Juan, in 2008. They were found in a BREC park in north Baton Rouge with their throats cut. Smith is also suspected of cutting the throat of his own daughter, Paige, who was four years old at the time, and injuring an infant.

"If you can imagine a little 4-year-old, who had been cut, pick up her 6-month-old infant sister and carrying her out of those woods and get as far as she did to the front of the park. That's just a miracle," Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said back in May 2008.

Late Wednesday afternoon, now 9-years-old, little Paige Johnson took the stand, wearing a white dress and red bow, she testified via remote television. Judge Anthony Marabella ruled the child did not have to face her father Dominique Smith as she gave her testimony.

Prosecutor Darwin Miller questioned Paige about the events of May 4, 2008.

Darwin Miller: "Who was there at the park that day?"

Paige Johnson: "My Dad and some lady."

Darwin Miller: "What happened next?"

Paige Johnson: "Then he cut my momma's neck."

Darwin Miller: "Who is he?"

Paige Johnson: "Dominique."

Darwin Miller: "Who then cut his (Juan Palmer Jr's) neck?

Paige Johnson: "Dominique."

Darwin Miller: "Who cut your neck?"

Paige Johnson: "I don't know."

Defense Attorney Darryl Gold crossed examined young Paige briefly. Several answers she could not remember. There were also a number of questions she simply got wrong. She was 4-years-old at the time of the attack nearly five years ago. She testified that she now lives with her grandmother.

On Thursday the jury will visit the crime scene accompanied by court security personnel and the judge. The trial may go into the weekend.

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