An ex-convict claimed Thursday a man accused of killing a 20-month-old toddler confessed to him while the pair were incarcerated in the Cleveland County jail last year.
Corey Stone, who was in jail for violating a protective order, befriended Jake Ryan Holman, 28, while he awaited trial on the first-degree murder charge. Holman is charged with stomping to death his ex-girlfriend's son Maddox Abner in early February 2017.
The trial continues today in front of Cleveland County District Judge Jeff Virgin. Prosecution and defense witnesses are expected to testify.
Stone testified Holman told him he lost control and killed the child while his girlfriend, Cydney Cox, was away from their Norman apartment. Stone told the jury Holman didn't describe in detail the method he used to kill the boy, "but everything he said led me to believe that's what happened."
Holman reportedly told Stone that he would throw a punch and kick the boy, according to Thursday's testimony. Stone testified he contacted the district attorney's office about the confession after being released from the county jail in 2018. Stone, who has a lengthy criminal history, told jurors he would not have reported Holman's confession if the case had not involved a child.
Stone also testified Holman drew pictures of the defendant throwing a small child into the air and against the wall. Stone said he befriended Holman after learning he was artistic and could draw pictures. Stone testified he paid Holman for the pictures, which he later sent to his children, by purchasing commissary items for him.
Lead defense attorney Cindy Viol tried to suggest Holman received a benefit from the district attorney's office by cooperating with prosecutors in the murder investigation. However, Stone denied the DA's office helped him receive a lighter sentence for violating a protective order. Stone eventually received a seven-year suspended sentence on the felony charge when he could have been sent to prison for life because of his prior criminal convictions.
Stone claims his cooperation with lawmen could hurt him if he is ever sent to prison again.
"It's a concern, yeah," he told Assistant District Attorney Patrick Crowe.
"Yet, you're still here today?" Crowe said.
"Yes," replied Stone.
Stone denied he has been threatened by prosecutors or anyone else connected to the case. Stone acknowledged he spent the entire night after leaving the county jail thinking about whether he should approach the district attorney's office.
"I had to decide on my own," he told jurors. "The bottom line is it's the nature of the crime. It's a child."
Stone testified he was concerned whether he could live with himself if he didn't come forward.
In other testimony, Norman police Detective Glenda Vassar, the case agent for the murder investigation, told the jury she interviewed Holman and Cox after the child was found dead. The detective described Cox as "shaking, crying and actively sobbing." She also testified Cox had her feet underneath her and was rocking back and forth.
Cox continually "asked me what happened to Maddox," the detective testified. "She would ask 'what happened to my son?'"
"Did Jake Holman ever ask about Maddox?" asked Assistant District Attorney SuAnne Carlson.
"No," Vassar replied.
In a lengthy video shown to jurors, Holman told investigators he thinks the boy died after falling from his crib. Holman said during the interrogation that the toddler had the ability to climb out of his crib.
However, medical experts testified earlier this week that a fall from the crib would not cause the severe injuries the toddler suffered. An autopsy revealed the boy's liver and pancreas were ripped apart, and that his lung and brain were damaged. The autopsy also showed multiple lacerations, abrasions and contusions to several parts of the boy's body.
Vassar testified a fall was not consistent "with there being a dead baby."
The child died late Feb. 3, 2017 or early Feb. 4, 2017, prosecutors allege. According to the interrogation video, Holman acknowledged he checked on the boy about 2 a.m. on Feb. 4 and that Cox was asleep in the couple's bed. Holman told police during the interview that the boy was asleep at that time.
Vassar also told jurors statements from Holman and Cox verified the defendant was the only one left alone with the victim late on Feb. 3 and early Feb. 4.
"Did anyone else have the means and opportunity to harm Maddox?" Carlson asked Vassar.
"No," the detective said.
Meanwhile, Todd Lindsey, a criminalist investigator with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, told the jury blood from carpet in the child's room was a virtual match to Maddox Abner's DNA profile. The blood was discovered in the same area where Holman claims he found the boy lying facedown by his crib on Feb. 4, 2017.
"There's a one in a 10.8 octillion chance of it being someone else," he said.
If convicted, Holman faces punishments of life in prison or life in prison without the possibility of parole.