An emergency room doctor testified Tuesday it was impossible for a 19-month-old toddler to be scalded from his feet up to his buttocks simply by standing in a bathroom sink, which is the story offered by the man accused of inflicting the damage.
Jason Barnes, 37, of North Aurora, is on trial for heinous battery and aggravated domestic battery for the Aug. 15, 2009 episode in which his son was scalded so severely he had to have 10 surgeries, all his toes amputated and learn to walk again.
If convicted, Barnes faces up to 45 years in prison or up to 60 years if eligible for an extended term.
In opening statements before Kane County Judge Timothy Sheldon, defense attorney Sandra Byrd said her client was watching the boy and his older toddler sister on Aug. 15, and just made them blueberry pancakes at his home in the 700 block of Lloyd Lane.
Barnes went upstairs to clean up and heard his daughter screaming her brother's name. Barnes found the boy standing in a sink in the first floor powder room, clutching the mirror, Byrd said. Paper was in the drain and the sink was overflowing with hot water, Byrd said.
The toddler was taken to Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora and then airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.
David Michael Sanchez, an emergency room physician who treated the toddler at Mercy, said the burns went from the toddler's toes all the way up to his buttocks.
Sanchez said if the boy was standing in the water, the burns would only rise up six to eight inches. He also dismissed Byrd's suggestion the hot water could have wicked up the boy's pajama pants and burned him that way.
"I don't think his body would be in the sink in any way to sustain those burns," Sanchez said. "To get those kinds of burns he would have to turn multiple times to get every aspect of his legs."
Elaine Brocker, Barnes' former live-in girlfriend and mother of the two children, testified she dropped off both kids at Barnes' home Aug. 14 for regular visitation.
At about 10 a.m. the next morning, she got a phone call from Barnes saying the boy got burned. She testified that she told Barnes to call police for help, but he refused, saying he didn't want "cops or any publicity at his house."
Brocker called 911 herself and frantically drove to the hospital.
"It was my worst nightmare," she recalled.
The trial is expected to run several days.