Trial’s third day details boy’s injuries

Members of the jury saw graphic depictions of the cause of 2-year-old Joseph Rinehart Jr.’s death during Wednesday’s third day of his grandfather’s trial.

Using photos the Nebraska Attorney General’s office showed the court, Dr. Matthias Okoye of the Nebraska Institute of Forensic Sciences explained that the pooling blood around and pus forming on Joseph’s intestines should not have been there and could have been caused by a perforated bowel.

He highlighted bruises on Joseph’s chin, above the left ear and all over the arms and legs. One photo showed multiple bruises on one of the boy’s knees that Okoye said were in the same shape and position of a gripped hand.

Slicing into the bruises on Joseph’s arms and legs, Okoye learned many of those bruises were fresh, having occurred within two hours of the time of death.

Joseph’s pelvis was fractured.

Joseph was found to be dead when his mother Laura Rinehart, 25, and 48-year-old grandmother Nancy Draper, Peter’s wife, brought him to Franklin County Memorial Hospital in Franklin April 30, 2012 for the second time that day. A May 2 autopsy showed he died of head and internal injuries caused by blunt force trauma.

Okoye said he determined Joseph’s cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma to the boy’s head, trunk and extremities.

Joseph’s grandfather Peter Draper is charged with committing intentional child abuse resulting in death, a Class 1B felony, punishable by 20 years to life in prison; and committing child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison.

Nancy and Laura also are charged with committing intentional child abuse resulting in death.

To read more, see Thursday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>>


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