JEFFERSON COUNTY — A bench trial against a 19-year-old Mt. Vernon man accused of battery of a baby resumed Thursday in Jefferson County court.
Tyrone “EJ” Steele is facing a Class X felony charge of battery to a child under the age of 13. Closing arguments were completed and the court has now taken the matter under advisement before rendering a verdict.
Steele was initially charged along with the child’s mother, 21-year-old Abagail Adkins. However, Steele’s defense called for the case to be severed at the end of the first day of bench trial.
The court approved the request and scheduled Steele and Adkins to be tried separately and the case was again delayed when it was agreed to continue his trial after just one day of presentation.
Meanwhile, Adkins proceeded to bench trial and after the defense and prosecution had rested their cases, it was agreed to delay closing arguments until after the defense had time to review the testimony of St. Louis physician Dr. Timothy Kutz who specializes in the assessment of suspected child abuse.
The court approved the delay and a date for the closing arguments have not yet been set pending the preparation of the transcript of the doctor’s testimony. Her trial is set to resume Wednesday.
Steele and Adkins were arrested in 2017 following an investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office stemming from a report of possible child abuse from the Emergency Room at Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis. Both Adkins and Steele remain in the Jefferson County Jail where they’ve been held since their arrests with bail set at $250,000 each.