Jett trial day 4: Father of victim speaks, says accused did not cry when prognosis was given

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PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — On day four of the trial for an East Peoria woman accused of killing her boyfriend’s son, the court heard from the boy’s father.

Lesli Jett, 34, is accused of killing Tate Thurman, 4, in Feb. 2020. Friday, Tate’s father, Jeremy Thurman, spoke about his relationship with Jett and the night Tate died.

When asked about Tate, Thurman was visibly distressed and cried many times. At one point, when hearing a recording of Jett speaking, he got ill.

Thurman described his son as a happy child who liked to play with his older brother and watch cartoons.

But, Tate was also a bed-wetter, and Thurman said he would often have accidents when he was away at work.

Text messages were shown in court displaying Jett’s displeasure with Tate’s incidents and having to stay home to watch the children.

Thurman told the court he “felt like she was blaming myself and my kids for not having enough free time.”

Thurman further said the early morning of Feb. 18, Tate had a bed-wetting accident around 4:45 a.m., which Jett told him about, but did not say anything about any injuries.

“She said she took him potty, had wet the bed, and changed him into pjs… nothing about Tate being injured,” he said.

Thurman left for work a little while later, and said he always checked in on Jett around 7:45 a.m. to make sure his older son, J.T., made it to school on time.

He said he received a text saying “up” around 7:46 a.m. Just over an hour later, at 9:11 a.m., he received the call from Jett that Tate has slipped and fell, and paramedics were taking him to the hospital.

Thurman said he was in Champaign for work when he received the call. He had to have a coworker drive him back to Peoria because he was throwing up.

Thurman said once he arrived at the hospital, he and Jett were told the prognosis, and she did not initially cry.

“The neurologist said that he didn’t expect him to wake up,” he said. “She was specifically with me [for] that update.”

Thurman said later in the evening when he was crying himself, he eventually saw Jett get emotional and cry. As predicted, Tate never woke up, and died two days later.

The trial will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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