- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

HOUMA, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Supreme Court rejected an appeal from a Chauvin man serving life in Angola Prison after he was convicted of killing a 10-month-old boy in 2007.

The Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1iZstxo ) William Henderson had requested an appeal from the Supreme Court after the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his request for post-conviction relief last year. Henderson is serving life in prison after a jury found him guilty in 2012 of smothering Kaleb Nelton to death.

During the original trial prosecutors used a statement in which Henderson told police investigators that the toddler had been crying and he had grabbed the baby’s face and told him to shut up.

Kaleb’s mother, Kimberly Nelton, was also arrested and charged with cruelty to a juvenile in connection with the incident.

Kaleb Nelton died Oct. 20, 2009. An autopsy determined that both his arms and several of his ribs had been broken, his face was bruised and he had been smothered to death, authorities testified.

In his appeal, Henderson claimed the court had erred during the cross examination proceedings, by selecting a racially biased jury and in preventing a cross examination of the trampoline witness who he claimed would have perjured herself. He also claimed the trial judge erred in allowing the prosecution to amend charges immediately before the trial and disallowing Henderson to specifically inform the jury on the nature of those charges.

The defense also argued that the trial court erred in failing to allow Henderson to cross-examine Kimberly Nelton. The first circuit judge said that the appeal was without merit because it was based on an assumption that Kimberly Nelton had made an agreement with the prosecution - the trial judge determined that the state had not made a “deal” with her regarding future prosecution.

Henderson also argued the court erred in allowing the prosecution to introduce a statement by Kimberly Nelton through a detective’s testimony, circumventing his right to cross-examine the witness. The 1st Circuit judge found that Henderson’s defense had opportunity to cross-examine her during the trial and that the statement was consistent with her previous testimony.

The appeals court upheld his conviction in September, rejecting all six of the errors Henderson appealed on.


Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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