WARREN - When Detective Wayne Mackey was questioning Joy Hodge about the beating death of her 15-month-old daughter in the fall of 2011, he described it as ''one explosive moment.''
''It looked like it happened sometime after you got home. And it looks like something went wrong,'' Mackey told Hodge, who is charged with murder and child endangering in the death of A'nana Brantley, who was found dead in her second-floor crib on Transylvania Street S.E. Sept. 6, 2011. The child was found bruised and cold to the touch about 1:30 p.m.
Mackey said the child's brain was swollen to the size of an adult's, and the back of the head was like ''mush.''
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Warren Detective Wayne Mackey testifies this week about questioning Joy Hodge, who is on trial for the 2011 murder of her 15-month-old daughter A’nana Brantley. Photo by R. Michael Semple
The mother, who faces more than 15 years behind bars, was being interviewed by Mackey on video that was played Thursday for a jury of nine men and three women.
Assistant county prosecutor Diane Barber rested her case Thursday and defense attorney Matthew Pentz is expected to call a few witnesses today, which means jurors could get the case today.
Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay is hearing the case.
While Mackey spent considerable time with Hodge trying to piece together a timeline of the 2011 Labor Day weekend, it was testimony later Thursday from Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk that fixed the toddler's time of death from 1:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. the day the child was found.
During that time frame and according to testimony, Hodge arrived home after leaving the child alone to go with friends to a local bar for a night of karaoke.
Hodge, 29, said she came home sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. that day.
She has insisted throughout the trial that she didn't kill her youngest of four children. She claims she gave A'nana a sippy cup at 8:30 a.m. that day and found the child dead five hours later - a theory that Germaniuk discounted with his explanation of the stiffness of the child's body along with pooling of the blood in the body that had occurred.
While Germaniuk showed slides of his autopsy, Hodge looked away from the slide screen, staring at the floor instead.
The toddler's father, David Brantley testified Thursday that he got a call from Hodge shortly after midnight that day, wanting him to come back to her home.
Brantley said he didn't go.
Then, about 2:30 a.m. he got another call from Hodge saying she was taking A'nana to the hospital with an ear infection.
Brantley said that when he called the next day the girl's body had already been discovered.
Hodge admitted to a private investigator who helped with the case more than a week after questioning by Mackey that she ''popped'' or struck the child, an admission that triggered her arrest. She has remained in Trumbull County Jail since.