exposing the dark side of adoption
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Man accused of child abuse murder of adopted daughter


By Artesia Davis

A man's estranged wife yesterday blamed him for the death of their adopted child.

Rosetta Cruz-Sweeting was testifying before Justice Roy Jones in the child abuse murder trial of her husband, Troy Sweeting, who is accused of beating three-year-old Jennifer Pinder about the body with a belt and PVC?pipe.

The family officially adopted the child from Cruz-Sweeting's sister, Lisa Cruz, in December 2006.

Her voice almost a whisper, a rail-thin Cruz-Sweeting claimed that the toddler, whom she affectionately called J-Lo, was in good health when she left her in her husband's care around 7 a.m. on February 21, 2007. The child died at the Intensive Care Unit of Princess Margaret Hospital on February 25, 2007.

Cruz-Sweeting said when she returned to the one-bedroom apartment on Blue Hill Road South around 5:30 p.m., it was "too quiet".

She said Sweeting was not there, but she found the toddler on the top of the bunk bed. She said she observed bruises on the child's hands, which she described as "purply dark".

Cruz-Sweeting said she saw additional bruises on the child's body when she undressed her.

The witness said she rushed to the next door neighbor, Patrice Bain, to call her husband.

Cruz-Sweeting said she was angry and cursed Sweeting as she demanded, "What did you do to her? Where did all these bruises come from?"

She said her husband said, "He would never hurt me. He would never beat her. How he wouldn't beat me no more. Some other crap he was saying."

When questioned by defense lawyer Raymond Rolle, Cruz-Sweeting revealed that she did not have custody of her own children, two girls and a boy.

Rolle suggested, "It's because of your hot temper that you don't have custody of your own children?"

"No, sir," she replied.

Focusing on the child's injuries, Rolle asked, "How do you know they weren't there at 7 a.m. when you left?"

Cruz-Sweeting replied, "I bathe her sometimes or she bathes herself."

"You're telling me a three-year-old could bathe herself properly?" Rolle asked.

Cruz-Sweeting said, "Yes."

Cruz-Sweeting denied that she beat Jennifer, saying that she only "tapped" her daughter's hand with her fingers when she did something wrong.

However, she claimed she once walked in the bedroom and caught her husband beating Jennifer with a belt when she returned from the store.

Rolle suggested that Cruz-Sweeting was responsible for the injuries on the child.

In response to a question from Rolle, Cruz-Sweeting admitted she was charged in relation to the child's murder.

Rolle asked, "You are no longer charged?"

"No, sir," Cruz-Sweeting said.

Prosecutors withdrew the murder charge against her on August 2.

Police seized two belts and PVC pipes from the home.

During an interview with police, Sweeting allegedly admitted to beating the child. However, he said he made the statement under duress.

The trial continues today.

Anthony Delaney and Charles Newbold are the prosecutors.

2012 Aug 14