Mass. man says he thought girl was hurting self

Relates to:
Date: 2008-11-21

Associated Press - November 21, 2008 12:44 PM ET

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A man accused of beating his stepdaughter so severely that she suffered a permanent brain injury says he never hit the girl and believed she was injuring herself.

Jason Strickland testified Friday at his trial in Springfield. The 34-year-old is charged with participating in a 2005 beating that left Haleigh Poutre (HAY'-lee POOT'-ruh), then 11, in a coma.

Defense attorney Alan Black has said Strickland's late wife, Holli, told Strickland her daughter was hurting herself due to a psychological disorder.

Strickland testified that a nurse practitioner performed weekly body checks on the girl because of the self abuse.

Haleigh Poutre was at the center of a right-to-die case after the state received court permission to remove her feeding tube. But she began showing signs of improvement days after later.

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