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Child cruelty case finally going to trial

A child cruelty case that dates back over two years is finally going before a jury. Jury selection in the trial of Sarah Elizabeth Hart got underway Monday, the first day of criminal trial week. Opening statements began Wednesday at about 10 a.m. Hart was arrested June 13, 2017 in a room at a local motel where a very young female child was found unresponsive and suffering from severe throat injuries. Hart is charged with two counts of first degree cruelty to children, aggravated battery and one count of second degree cruelty to children. The child spent a long period on life support and is now in a foster home setting. She will have medical issues for life. Hart told responding officers the girl was injured when another child in the room poured hot sauce down her throat. UPDATE: Testimony came to a halt at 3 p.m. Wednesday when a doctor set to be called as a witness for the prosecution could not make it to court. Proceedings will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday. Those testifying Wednesday (in order of appearance) were: Sgt. Brian McWhorter, BPD; Chris Minchew, paramedic, Community Ambulance; Iris Love, mother of Hart’s then boyfriend Jeremy Blake Love; Kimberly Cromartie-Windom, DFCS; Sgt. Belinda Penamon, BPD; Sgt. Brian Ponder, Henry County PD/Narcotics Task Force; Anita Long, DFCS. Wednesday’s proceedings were marked by several clashes between defense attorney Lee Sexton and prosecutors Elizabeth Bobbitt and Anita Howard. Jurors were removed from the courtroom twice while Judge Tommy Wilson mediated those disputes. Sexton was adamant Hart will testify in her own defense. Follow this case as it unfolds here on

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