Day 1 of trial continues for woman accused of beating 4-year-old boy to death

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PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Four witnesses testified during the continuation of the first day of the trial of an East Peoria woman accused of killing her boyfriend’s young son.

34-year-old Lesli Jett is accused of beating Jeremy Thurman’s four-year-old son to death in February 2020.

A third and fourth alternate were selected for the jury Tuesday morning. On Monday, a jury consisting of five women and seven men was chosen for the trial, along with two alternates.

After opening statements were delivered, multiple first responders testified about what they saw at 109 Jefferson Court in East Peoria on Feb. 18, 2020.

East Peoria Paramedic Dan Turner said he was dispatched to the home at 9:12 a.m. for a “four-year-old in cardiac arrest,” and arrived within two minutes. He said he found the child lying on his back in the living room, unconscious and not breathing. All he had on was underwear.

Thurman was dry and he did not observe any water on the floor, disputing Jett’s claim that he slipped and fell. His core was warm and extremities were cold and signaled there had “not been a significant amount of downtime”, Turner said.

East Peoria Senior Paramedic Dan Bourscheidt also said the child was not wet, and neither was Jett. He said Jett told him Thurman “runs into things constantly, and something about a concussion.”

The paramedics said they were at the home for less than three minutes before taking the boy to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Erin Bowers, crime scene investigator for Illinois State Police, said she arrived at the hospital to take photos at 2:28 p.m.

Prosecutors presented the Bowers’ graphic images of injuries all over the child’s body to the jury.

“We take no pleasure in showing you those photographs, but they are important. They are very important to this case for you to understand the extent of injury that Tate suffered,” said Tazewell County Assistant State Attorney Mara Mishler.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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