Opening Statements in Toddler Murder Trial

By Trish Mehaffey and Dave Franzman

Lee Muldoon sits with his attorney's Todd Weimer and Tyler Johnston during the prosecution's opening statement in his first degree murder trial Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 at the Linn County District Courthouse in Cedar Rapids. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)

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By Becky Ogann

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said 2-year-old Skylar Inman changed the last two months of her life because that’s when Lee Muldoon moved in with her mother and the abuse started.

Muldoon, 25, of Coggon, is on trial this week for the first-degree murder of Skylar on July 11, 2008. Skylar died from blunt force injuries.

The trial is expected to last three weeks or more.

In his opening statement Thursday morning, Maybanks said Skylar went from a happy little girl to a timid, clinging child. At the time of her death, she had 130 bruises on her body and massive internal injuries.

Linn County Public Defender Tyler Johnston, Muldoon’s attorney, said in his opening that none of those bruises or injuries can be tied to Muldoon.
There’s no evidence, he said. He accused Skylar’s mother, Brianna Volesky, of abusing her child and said Muldoon loved Skylar and tried to take care of her.

Johnston said there will be testimony from witnesses about how Volesky didn’t want Skylar and never took care of her. Skylar’s care was left up to her family and Muldoon.

Muldoon is accused of killing Skylar, his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter on July 11, 2008. Muldoon is also charged with child endangerment causing death. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.

Volesky has also pleaded guilty to neglect of child and involuntary manslaughter in Skylar's death. She will testify for the state against Muldoon.
A jury and four alternates was seated late Wednesday after three long days of questioning. There were many prospective jurors out of the 100 in the pool who were excused or dismissed for medical reasons, lack of impartiality, knowledge of case, employment and travel plans that couldn’t be altered.

Follow Trish Mehaffey's live coverage of the trial below.

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