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Closing arguments begin as defense rests its case in foster parents murder trial

Closing arguments began at 1 p.m. Friday. Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbaum are accused of killing their foster daughter, 2-year-old Laila Daniel.

MCDONOUGH, Ga. — The closing arguments have begun in the foster parents murder trial today. 

The final defense witness took the stand this morning in Henry County. Summer Wells, Jennifer Rosenbaum’s sister, testified she spent a lot of time with the Rosenbaums and their foster daughters.

WATCH LIVE: Closing arguments set to begin

Laila and her older sister Millie lived with the Rosenbaums when Laila died on Nov. 17, 2015. Jennifer Rosenbaum says she choked while eating chicken. Prosecutors say she died of abuse at the hands of the Rosenbaums.

The Rosenbaums are facing 49 charges, including murder, in relation to Laila and abuse charges in relation to Millie.

 Laila’s injuries on the day she died:

  • Transected pancreas
  • Severe blood loss
  • Broken bones in arms and legs
  • Bruising on neck, face, abdomen, legs
  • Inadequate nutrition

 MORE: ‘Nightstick fracture’ on Laila’s arm when she died

Wells said Friday morning she went to the zoo with Jennifer and her foster daughters and stayed with the family overnight on some occasions. Wells said she bathed and clothed the girls on different occasions in October and November of 2015. She said she never saw any marks or bruises on the girls.

Wells said she last saw the girls about a week before Laila died. She said she saw no injuries on the girls and they seemed fine.

On Thursday, a medical examiner took the stand for the defense. He was not the examiner that performed the autopsy on Laila but he said he looked at every photo and all the reports to come to his own conclusion.

“My conclusion was that all these injuries were sustained during a very, very panicked frenzied attempt to try to save Laila’s life after she appears to have choked on some chicken,” testified Dr. Kris Sperry, former medical examiner with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

Jennifer Rosenbaum said Laila’s injuries happened when she tried to save the child by incorrectly performing CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver.

Sperry’s testimony is in direct contrast to Dr. Lora Darrisaw who took the stand for the prosecution. She’s the current medical examiner with the GBI who performed Laila’s autopsy.

“I certified the manner of Laila’s death as homicide,” testified Dr. Darrisaw earlier this week.

Both sides will present closing arguments at 1 p.m. Friday.


DAY ONE: 'Liars, abusers and murderers:' Prosecutors say Rosenbaums lived a life of lies

DAY TWO: Facebook messages, phone recordings introduced as Laila Daniel's mom testifies in foster parents murder trial

DAY THREE: 'It hurt': 7-year-old details spankings, belt use at trial of 2-year-old sister's alleged murder by foster parents

DAY FOUR:  Mistakes made by DFCS workers are focus of Rosenbaum foster child murder trial

DAY FIVE: 'Night stick fracture': Doctor testifies about broken bones suffered by Laila Daniel

DAY SIX: Foster mom cries in court while listening to 911 call from day of Laila Daniel’s death

DAY SEVEN: ‘Millie told me Laila had been asleep’: ER nurse who treated girls on day Laila Daniel died

DAY EIGHT: Foster mother cries during police interview shortly after Laila Daniel’s death

DAY NINE: 'Significant blunt impact trauma:' Medical examiner says Laila Daniel did not die from choking

DAY TEN: First defense witness spars with prosecutors in foster parents murder trial

DAY ELEVEN: Joseph Rosenbaum’s sister testifies about happy family in foster parent murder trial

DAY TWELVE: Defense expert says toddler killed by foster mom’s ‘panicked attempt to save Laila’s life’