ShareThis Page
Murder suspect: ‘I never hit my daughter’ |

Murder suspect: ‘I never hit my daughter’

| Thursday, June 3, 2004 12:00 p.m

A Penn Hills woman on trial for third-degree murder in the 2002 death of her toddler testified Wednesday that she never abused the girl.

“I never hit my daughter; she’s not a bad baby,” said Tia Banks, 21, referring in the present tense to her daughter, Atia, who was 2 years old when she died.

Banks told jurors that the night Atia suffered a fatal head injury Dec. 15, 2002, she gave the girl to her boyfriend, Donald Williams, of the East Hills, so Williams could give her a bath. The child grew sick after being put to bed, Banks testified, and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Atia died seven days later.

Williams, 22, testified earlier that Banks bathed Atia the night she was hurt, and that he heard a thumping sound followed by the child’s screams coming from the bathroom.

Doctors who treated Atia the night she was brought to the hospital had testified that Banks told them she had bathed Atia and that the girl had defecated in her bath water.

Williams pleaded guilty April 5 to involuntary manslaughter in Atia’s death, but Assistant District Attorney Laura Ditka argues that Banks either was directly involved in the girl’s death or allowed Williams to continue abusing the child.

Banks also is facing aggravated assault, child endangerment and reckless endangering charges.

An autopsy found one new bruise and one old one on Atia’s brain, suggesting more than one incident of abuse. Coroner’s officials testified that the fatal injury was likely caused by the child’s head being struck on a firm-but-padded surface such as a changing table.

Ditka and defense lawyer Glenn Dolfi Sr. are to make closing arguments today before Allegheny County Judge Kathleen A. Durkin.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.