Grandfather takes stand

Peter Draper refuted the testimony of his daughter and several other witnesses when he took the stand in his own defense Thursday afternoon.

Draper’s grandson Joseph Rhinehart Jr., 2, 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.

When Laura Rinehart testified Tuesday she described her father as a man so scary she was afraid to tell authorities about abuse he inflicted upon her children and herself until all three defendants were in jail.

Peter, 48, said he and his daughter were very close. He did not criticize her parenting skills as she previously testified.

His dauther told investigators she witnessed about a week before Joseph’s death her father pinning the boy on his older sister’s bed and kneeling on Joseph’s abdomen as a disciplinary technique. She said she saw Peter grabbing his young grandchildren forcefully enough when the did not move fast enough to leave bruises, shoving Joseph to the ground and also water boarding him.

When Peter’s court appointed public defender Charles Brewster of Kearney asked Peter if those incidents happened Peter denied them.

“I have no idea what she is talking about,” he said.

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