Foster father on trial for death of Washington Parish 3-year-old

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 23 at 7:01 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

AMITE, La. -- Three years after 3-year-old Faith Saucier died of blunt force trauma, her foster father Mark Johnson is standing trial for second-degree murder.

Prosecutors told a Tangipahoa Parish judge Wednesday that Johnson was the last person seen with the child still alive and was responsible for the dozens of bruises found on the girl's body.

The lead detective in the case detailed that’s what his investigation found, which the defense says is questionable.

“Many of those bruises were explained to deputies, but part of what we've gone through today is they treated it as it was unimportant, insignificant and ignored it in the final conclusion about who was responsible, if anybody, for Faith's death," said Johnson’s attorney, Michael Thiel.

While the defense claims Saucier was known to injure herself and had medical conditions that caused easy bruising, former foster parents described the child as bubbly, full of life with a sweet personality and no traces of concerning behavior.

Also debated in court were conflicting statements from the Johnsons’ foster son about whether he had been abused in the home

“The mother is hopeful that justice will be done," said an attorney for the child's family, Bill Arata.

The defense says it is also looking for justice.

“Just so many different variables and possibilities, which then makes this case replete with reasonable doubt," Thiel said. 

The Louisiana Attorney General's Office says it can't comment during the trial. Testimony will continue through 3 p.m. Thursday, then resume Monday morning.

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