Testimony continues for parents accused of killing 4-year-old - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Testimony continues for parents accused of killing 4-year-old developmentally disabled boy

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

In the final two months of his four years on Earth, Robert Guinyard Jr. suffered severe hunger.

The excruciating pain of beatings so brutal he would have according to a doctor had difficulty simply sitting down.

But that doctor testified on Thursday that little Robert could have been saved if he'd been given medical care.

Instead, the developmentally disabled child continued to suffer at the hands of his parents, Richland County investigators say.

This week Robert Antonio Guinyard and the boy's mother, Courtney Thompson are on trial.

Both charged with homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child.

Each represented by separate defense teams, which have at times clashed with each other.

The killing, discovered July 1 on Beaverbrook Drive, was disturbing enough on its own.

It has stayed in the news for the last few months as critics of the state Department of Social Services, especially the Richland County office, have accused the agency of failing to protect children.

Family members of the four-year-old have said they tried repeatedly to alert DSS but the boy was still placed back in his parents' custody.

DSS is not on trial in this courtroom.

Jury members will have to decide whether to believe claims like this one from Robert Junior's mother.

 "She actually described it, she said well I gave him a pop on the back like that and she (put) her hand in her palm, or she would just make him sit in a chair, time out," said Holly Wagner with the Richland County Sheriff's Department. "But she said I didn't hit him hard."

Wagner also described how the sheriff's department found one of the weapons believed to have been used in the beatings, a bloodstained, dented white metal rod with a jagged end.

The trial will resume Friday.

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