Jett trial day 7: Prosecution rests, defense begins questioning witnesses

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PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — After six days of questioning witnesses, the prosecution in the Lesli Jett murder trial has rested, and it is the defense team’s turn.

Jett, 35, is charged with the Feb. 2020 murder of her boyfriend’s son, Tate Thurman, 4.

The defense grilled the boys’ father, Jeremy Thurman, about wrestling and Tate’s older brother J.T.’s exposure to the activity.

Thurman, a former high school wrestler, said he and his eldest son, 7, bonded over wrestling and had fun with the knowledge that it was all for show.

“Even at that age, I taught him it was a story, and it was acting. This was for entertainment only,” he said.

Thurman said he demonstrated a few wrestling moves “to a point”, and J.T. knew “they were all actors and entertainers.”

Carol Kent, the boy’s maternal grandmother, said she made sure to tell the boys “wrestling on TV is fake,” and never witnessed J.T. injure his little brother when they played.

“They would run around and play together, roll around,” she said.

Larry Milsteadt, the forensic interviewer at Tazewell County’s Children Advocacy Center, testified he interviewed J.T. on Feb. 19, the day after Tate was admitted to the hospital.

He said he observed a bruise on J.T.’s shin and had asked him about where he got the injuries and whether “it occurred to anyone else in the household.” Milsteadt did not provide further details due to privacy matters.

The trial continues Friday and is expected to wrap up on Monday.

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