Trial Begins for Parents Charged in Child's Death

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The murder trial for the parents of the little boy whose death sparked outrage and change at the South Carolina Department of Social Services began Tuesday.

Courtney Thompson and Robert Antonio Guinyard are both charged with homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child.

Their son, Robert Guinyard Junior, died in 2013 after family members made multiple reports to DSS about abuse and neglect in the home. Previous Coverage:'The System Failed Robert'

"On that day, because he ate a cracker or used the bathroom in the house, he was beaten again. One parent held his legs down, and the other parent hit him," Solicitor Meghan Walker said during her opening statements to the jury.

"The child's last words on this earth were 'Help me Lord,'" Walker said to the jury.

After statements from Walker, Robert Antonio Guinyard's attorney Victor Li, and Courtney Thompson's attorney Eric Stagg, the jury heard from 5 witnesses.

Thompson's sister, Crystal Thompson, testified she witnessed and heard her sister abuse Robert.

Investigators from the Richland County Sheriff's Department testified about blood they found in the home after Robert died. Attorney's for the parents questioned investigators about where that blood came from, as they're attempting to pit the pair against one another.

Li, taking the voice of Robert if he were still alive, told the jury "I loved my daddy."

Stagg told the jury when Robert died, his client was the one who dialed 911 and helped investigators.

On both types of charges, the jury is not required to issue the same verdict for both parents.

The trial continues Wednesday, where more family members are expected to testify.


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