Prosecution calls witnesses in trial of man accused of killing 2-year-old

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:34 PM EDT
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - Andrew Byrd is facing trial this week for charges including first-degree murder. He is accused of killing two-year-old Harper Mitchell.

March 28, the prosecution called numerous witnesses to the stand including Harper’s mother, Amanda Mitchell. She testified that she lived with the defendant, her then-boyfriend, Andrew Byrd.

Byrd would watch her three children almost daily while she was at work.

She says April 16, 2020, Byrd was supposed to pick her up from work at 11 p.m. Mitchell says when Byrd showed up around 11:15 p.m., Harper showed signs of bleeding and wasn’t acting right. Mitchell says she wanted to take Harper to a hospital, but Byrd put a gun to her head and said to drive home.

At the house, Mitchell says they argued, during which she was strangled and hit many times by Byrd. She also says she was not able to call 911 to get care for Harper because of Byrd’s violent acts. Mitchell says she eventually retrieved her phone and called Byrd’s mom, who called 911 and rushed to the scene.

During cross examination, the defense used previous testimonies and conversations with police to identify differences in her stories. The prosecution also called the pediatrician who provided care to Harper to the stand. He stated he could say, with certainty, Harper’s injuries were due to abuse.

Finally, the prosecution called Byrd’s mother, Rebecca Woolwine, to the stand. She testified when she arrived at the scene, Harper had a very faint pulse and a mark on her forehead.

The prosecution also pulled text messages between Woolwine and Byrd from after the incident involving Harper. In those messages Byrd stated that anyone who comes to the house “in uniform” will die.

Trial will continue Wednesday.