Trial begins for Jackson County man accused of sexually assaulting, killing infant in 2016


    <p>Amanda Adkins was in tears Wednesday during Benjamin Taylor's trial. He is accused of sexually assaulting and killing Adkins' infant daughter in 2016. (WCHS/WVAH){/p}

    The trial has begun for the man accused of sexually assaulting and killing an infant almost three years ago in Jackson County.

    Benjamin Taylor is accused of causing injuries so severe to Emmaleigh Barringer that she died two days later in the hospital.

    Emmaleigh’s mother, Amanda Adkins, was cross examined Wednesday. She relived the moment when she discovered her daughter had been severely injured.

    Twelve jurors listened to her describe that day and the days that followed, leading up to her daughter dying from the injuries and trauma. Medical examiners said Emmaleigh’s injuries were consistent with sexual assault and being struck or shaken.

    Adkins was in tears as she sat on the witness stand, hearing her own voice on a 911 call from October 2016. The call was made moments after she found her 10-month-old daughter in the basement of her home with Benjamin Taylor.

    "Benji had her over in a pile of blankets by the sink on the floor and it looked like he was drying her off," Adkins said.

    Adkins said Taylor wasn’t wearing a shirt and his jeans were unbuttoned.

    Adkins said she wrapped her baby in a blanket and ran upstairs.

    "She couldn't hold herself up, and started making a gurgling sound,” Adkins said.

    In a phone call played on Wednesday, jurors could hear Adkins talking to Taylor, begging for an explanation.

    Emmaliegh died two days later.

    According to court records, Taylor said he didn’t know how the baby received the injuries, and later told police that he blacked out and didn’t know what happened.

    During the first day of the trial, the prosecutor stressed the shortness and innocence of Emmaleigh’s life before she died at just 10-months-old.

    Taylor’s defense attorney urged the jurors to consider all the evidence they will be presented with over the course of the trial saying some evidence was never considered.

    If convicted of first degree sexual assault and murder, Taylor faces life in prison.

    Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for the continuing coverage of this trial.






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