PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The defense has rested their case in the trial of a woman who is accused of drowning her 2-year-old son in a hotel room bathtub.
A tearful Sharon Flanagan, testifying in her own defense this afternoon, admitted she lied to police when she claimed she couldn’t lift the child out of the tub.
She testified she left the bathroom and got distracted, and when she returned, she found the child face down in the tub and never tried to pull him out. She says she panicked and let the water out of the tub then left the room to get help.
She also testified that her marriage began to deteriorate when she one day found the child with her husband in a closet, and her husband was naked from the waist down.
She claims he molested the boy, but prosecutors say there was no proof of molestation.
Flanagan testified she lied to police about trying to take the child out of the tub because she couldn’t bear the thought of the child going back to the custody of a “pedophile father.”
Earlier in the day, before resting their case just after 12 p.m., the prosecution put Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams on the stand.
He testified he ruled the cause of death as drowning and the manner of death as homicide.
The defense has pointed to a lack of bruising on the body to indicate that since there was little evidence of struggle, the drowning was likely an accident.
But Williams testified he was not surprised that he saw little external trauma because the rush water into the child’s upper airways is enough to cause the heart to stop.
On Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrini said 34-year-old Flanagan, of Inwood W. Va., searched online for “leading cause of toddler death” and “why is Casey Anthony so popular?” on her computer weeks before the incident.
It was 6:18 p.m. on July 1, 2012, when Flanagan carried her 2-year-old son, Steven, into the Best Western in Green Tree.
She told police she planned to take him to Sandcastle Water Park because he loved to play in the water.
At one point, surveillance pictures show she picked him up and put him on the check-in counter.
But within a few hours she would be back in that lobby yelling that something happened to her baby as he lay face down in the bathtub in her sixth-floor room.
She claimed she didn’t have the strength to pull him out of the tub, and even put on a back brace. She told police some kind of strong force kept him in the tub.
Closing arguments will begin 9:30 a.m. Friday.