Candice Young doesn’t remember if a doctor or a nurse shared the news with her that her only child–3-year-old Jaronn McAllister– died in the hospital on March 1, 2012.
“He just walked in and I looked at him and said, ‘Is he OK?’ And he just shook his head and put his head down. And I ran…to find my baby,” Young recalled Wednesday afternoon on the witness stand in Brunswick County Superior Court.
Young testified as a State’s witness in the case of 29-year-old Montey Murray, who has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Jaronn’s death.
Young testified that she was working the third shift as a dispatcher in Wilmington the morning of March 1, when she received a text message from her then-boyfriend, Murray, that read, “need you now, now, now.”
Something had happened to Jaronn, who was at the hospital with Young’s cousin and Murray. Several phone calls were made between Young and Murray, who was babysitting Jaronn, Young said.
Young told the jury that she parked in front of the Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in Bolivia, left the keys in her car and ran inside the hospital to find her son. But she was not allowed to see him.
“I arrived [at the hospital]. And I questioned…Montey about what was going on. But they didn’t know. They said Jaronn was in the back. I think one of the nurses had us moved to a room to sit and wait,” Young said.
Young, Murray and Young’s cousin, who drove Jaronn to the hospital, waited to hear from the doctors about Jaronn’s condition.
Murray was in the room when Young was notified that her son had died. But once she ran out of the room to see Jaronn, she never saw Murray at the hospital again that day. Hospital staff eventually let Young into the emergency room to see her son.
Young described Jaronn as an “outspoken” child who liked to talk about his “super powers.” The State presented photographs of Young’s apartment to the jury Wednesday, including photos of Jaronn’s room, which had toys scattered on the floor and was decorated in the theme of the movie “Toy Story.”
She also testified to the jury that he liked to climb and flip off the couch.
“Had he complained to you about having any injuries?…Ms. Young, had your son had 20 to 40 bruises on his chest prior to leaving for work?” Assistant District Attorney Lee Bollinger asked. “No, sir,” Young replied.
“Would you have known it if he did?” Bollinger asked. “Yes,” said Young.
In defense questioning, James Payne–the attorney representing Murray—asked Young about the conversations and text messages between her and Murray after she was notified there was an emergency involving Jaronn.
Young testified that she was in a meeting at work when she received the text message “need you now, now, now” at about 9 a.m. The two had talked on the phone a few times before she arrived at the hospital.
“He was holding [Jaronn], telling you to say something to him on the phone. Hoping that he would respond to you…and you can hear him calling Jaronn’s name too?” Payne asked about the conversation while Jaronn was en route to the hospital.
“Yes, sir,” she replied.
Young also testified that Murray had known her and Jaronn for roughly three years. Murray had looked after Jaronn overnight in the past while she went to work, but Young said that Murray’s cousin–who was there the night Jarron was fatally injured–had not been with Murray while looking after the child before.
“He babysat him by himself in Wilmington. He babysat by himself in Cardinal Point [Apartments]. Never gone wrong, except this one time?” Payne asked.
“Correct,” she said.
“There was one difference in this one particular time, correct? Somebody else was in the apartment?” Payne asked.
“Yes,” Young replied.
Testimony from State’s witnesses in the case continues at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Brunswick County Superior Court.
Read previous coverage:
- Jury selection continues Tuesday in Brunswick first-degree murder trial
- Jurors dismissed in murder trial after conversation between juror, TV news reporter
- DA speaks out on murder indictment 18 months after child’s death
- Wilmington man indicted on first-degree murder charge in death of 3-year-old boy
Christina Haley is a crime and courts reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.