Defense starts calling witnesses in Jacobsen manslaughter trial

<p>Kelli Anne Jacobsen</p>

Kelli Anne Jacobsen

Prosecuting attorneys rested this morning in the trial of a Richland nanny accused of killing the one-year-old child she was watching over nearly two years ago.

Kelli Jacobsen is charged with manslaughter in the June 2011 death of Ryder Morrison.

After the state rested today, Jacobsen's attorney Scott Johnson began calling witnesses to the stand.

Johnson first called two people who were working as chaplains at Kadlec Regional Medical Center the day Ryder died - both of them met with Jacobsen after she arrived at the hospital that day.

The chaplains described Jacobsen's demeanor while they were with her, and both said Jacobsen's actions and emotions did not cause them any concern.

One chaplain said when Jacobsen spoke, her lips quivered and her voice was shaky.

"She was distraught, anxious, deeply concerned. I think perhaps fearful as well" said Tom Becraft, chaplain.

"As I approached her, I noticed that she was flushed, her eyes were wet as if she had been crying. She was rocking in a forward, back movement, slightly in a sort of self-soothing manner" said Amy Hoyt, former chaplain.

Jacobsen's best friend Amy Graves, who spent the night at Ryder's home the night before he died, also testified today.

She says Ryder was acting unusual the morning of the day he died.

"He was very listless, he was very lethargic, he couldn't keep his eyes open all the way. He was crying on and off, whimpering on and off, seemed to be inconsolable" said Graves.

Jacobsen told paramedics Ryder injured himself after he fell off a toy about six inches tall at his home, but prosecutors believe Jacobsen is responsible for Ryder's death.

This morning, the neurosurgeon who operated on Ryder right before he died testified that it would be "unusual" for a fall like that to cause the severe injuries Ryder sustained.

Johnson has tried to cast doubt on the prosecution's allegations by saying Ryder's mother Tawney Johnson may have played a role in Ryder's death.

He also says Ryder's death may have been the result of an unknown health issue.