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October 21, 2014

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Second trial in child abuse death case resumes

Nigerian immigrant being charged with murder in death of 2-year-old boy

Updated Monday, Nov. 22, 2010 | 1:56 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Victor O. Fakoya

Prosecutors today continued laying out their case in the second trial for a Las Vegas man accused of child abuse in the August 2008 death of a toddler who was under his care.

And so far, prosecutors haven't changed tactics for trying to get a conviction for Victor Fakoya, 42, whose first trial in March ended with a hung jury and was declared a mistrial.

"It's moving kind of slow," said Deputy Public Defender Norm Reed, who noted it took longer to seat the jury for the trial, which got under way Nov. 8.

Part of the reason for the slow start was that potential jurors weren't asked to fill out a lengthy questionnaire and were instead asked voir dire questions by Judge Valorie Vega.

Also, it was more difficult to get jurors who were able to serve around the holiday, Reed said. And jurors were also screened to find out whether they could be impartial concerning a case involving the death of a child and alleged child abuse, Reed said.

On Monday afternoon, the jury was continuing to hear from Dr. Thomas Gowan, a pediatric emergency room physician who treated Daniel when he was first brought to Summerlin Hospital by ambulance.

Questions presented to Gowan were mostly about the condition he found the boy in and what tests were done at Summerlin's emergency room.

Gowan said when the boy arrived he was not able to breathe on his own.

A six-man, six-woman jury, with four alternates was selected Wednesday and the state had called four witnesses. The state is so far using the same witnesses it did during the first trial, Reed said.

Fakoya, a Nigerian immigrant, has been charged with one count of felony homicide by child abuse in the death of Daniel Jaiyesimi.

The 2-year-old boy died Aug. 11, 2008, at University Medical Center after three days in intensive care. Doctors testified the boy was brought to the hospital “in extreme medical distress.”

The boy and his parents, Musediq and Toyin Jaiyesimi, were living with Fakoya and his wife, Lola, along with the Fakoyas’ two small children, in the Fakoyas’ two-bedroom Las Vegas home at the time of Daniel’s death.

The Fakoyas were helping the Jaiyesimis get on their feet as they adjusted to life in the United States. The Jaiyesimis had moved from Nigeria to Las Vegas in December 2007 after the Fakoyas agreed to be their host family.

The boy was under the care of Fakoya on Aug. 8, 2009, and during that time suffered injuries consistent with child abuse, police investigators said.

During the first trial, Fakoya’s attorneys cited a number of other possible reasons for the boy’s death. They offered theories of a possible infection, an accident or possibly an undiagnosed health condition.

Prosecutors said the boy’s injuries, which included a skull fracture, bleeding in his brain and bruises, were inflicted by Fakoya after Musediq Jaiyesimi left the home after lunch to return to work.

Reed said the defense plans to again put Fakoya on the witness stand, as well as bring in witnesses who will provide expert medical testimony to rebut the testimony of witnesses presented by the state.

Reed said the defense will also bring in a myriad of character witnesses to vouch for Fakoya's credibility.

Based on the length of the first trial, the second trial is expected to wrap up around the end of the first full week of December, Reed said.

Meanwhile, Fakoya is being held on $500,000 bail in the Clark County Detention Center, where he has been since his arrest.

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