BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man accused of killing his 8-year-old son is back in court and witnesses have taken the stand against him.
On June 5, a team of defense lawyers in the murder trial against Michael Robertson showed up in court with a list of requests for the judge. He is one of two people accused of killing 8-year-old Xzayvion Riley in June of 2012.
Defense attorneys presented Judge Don Johnson with nine motions that day. They were looking for jury pool information. They also wanted their client to be able to not have his hands cuffed during pre-trial hearings. They wanted the Department of Children and Family Services to let their employees talk to the defense. Most of the requests were either taken under advisement or outright denied by the Judge.
The one motion that was argued heavily was a request by the defense to not allow attorneys to talk to the media. The defense attorneys did not want to talk following the hearing. Judge Johnson ordered them all back in two weeks.
Xzayvion lived with his mother, Lavaughn, at an apartment complex on Coy Avenue. His dad, Michael Robertson, was visiting when deputies said Lavaughn called for help on Tuesday, June 12. Xzayvion was taken to the hospital, but did not survive.
Detectives said hospital staff counted 56 marks on the little boy's body. The coroner's office is reporting Xzayvion had more than 60 external signs of recent and past trauma, which include cuts, bruises and adult size bite marks on his abdomen. Xzayvion also had an "overwhelming infection" due to blunt force trauma to the abdomen.
The autopsy revealed Xzayvion died due to a ruptured intestine caused by blunt force trauma to the stomach. According to the forensic pathologist, the injury was potentially treatable, if doctors had seen the victim when he complained of stomach pains.
EBRSO said Riley admitted to detectives she and Robertson beat their son, an allegation Robertson denied. During questioning, Xzayvion's mother said on one occasion it sounded as if Robertson was throwing their son against the bedroom wall and she did nothing to intervene.
The victim's sibling told detectives Robertson beat the child with his closed fist from noon one day until that evening. Xzayvion allegedly complained of stomach pains and vomited throughout the night and was too weak to get out of bed the next day.
The sibling also witnessed Michael Robertson bite her 8-year-old brother on the stomach. The sibling also said she witnessed Robertson bite the child on a regular basis as a form of discipline. Robertson denied any involvement in his son's injuries.
At the time of Xzayvion's death, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services had an open and active case with the family. The department had been involved with the family in the past as a result of reports received. During its involvement with the family, DCFS provided services that included, but not limited to, intensive home based services, protective child care, coordination with community resources, as well as involvement with the courts.
No decision has been made about whether or not a death sentence will be asked for if Robertson and Riley are convicted of first-degree murder.