Today brought a recorded claim that Dellia Castile did not know about the child abuse going on in her South Bend home.
Castile is on trial facing charges of child neglect because her 10 year old grandson Tramelle Sturgis was beaten to death by his father in the basement of Castile’s home on West Washington Street.
The centerpiece of Castile’s defense appears to be a recorded statement Castile gave to police shortly after the boy’s death last November.
On the tape Castile is heard to say “I’m upstairs, I don’t go in the basement, I’m scared of them stairs.”
Castile goes on to tell officers that she was not covering for her son, (Terry Sturgis) that “I would tell you if he was abusing them.”
The tape captures Castile’s near hysterical reaction the moment officers told her that Tramelle had died from his injuries.
“Oh no that can’t be true,” she loudly exclaims, “That can’t be right.”
If Castile was indeed fooled into thinking that all of the kids in the house were alright, jurors today heard she wasn’t the only one.
Castile’s daughter Luedora Sturgis today testified that she lived in the home between March and June of 2011.
When asked if her mother ever expressed any concerns about abuse, Luedora said “It never came up.”
Luedora Sturgis said she was babysitting for eight children in the home in May of 2011 when a police officer showed up to investigate a complaint of possible child abuse.
The South Bend Police officer in charge of that investigation testified for the defense today. Officer Jonathan Gray said he examined all eight of the children and all appeared to be “healthy.” Gray said there was food in the house and it was well kept.
The defense today began its case with the legal argument that Castile could not be charged with Neglect of a Dependent because she was not the legal guardian of any of the children listed in court documents.
The judge disagreed, ruling it was Castile’s home where the crimes took place and that she actively cared for all of the children who lived there.
It appears likely that the case will be in the hands of the jury sometime Wednesday.