PUBLISHED: 17:33 EST, 19 September 2012 | UPDATED: 05:44 EST, 20 September 2012
- D’Andre Lane, 32, is charged with child abuse in the disappearance of Bianca Jones
- Bianca has been missing since December 2 when Lane reported her stolen during a carjacking
- Prosecutors claim Lane beat her with a stick wrapped in a towel after she wet herself
A Detroit man was so obsessed over toilet training that he fatally beat his 2-year-old daughter for having an accident, a prosecutor said on Wednesday in an opening statement to jurors at the man’s first-degree murder trial.
D’Andre Lane, 32, charged with child abuse in the Dec. 2 disappearance of Bianca Jones, whose body has never been found, has maintained his innocence insisting she was taken during a carjacking.
The car was found less than an hour later, but the girl wasn’t in it.
Family: Bianca Jones’s mother Banika Jones looks over at D’Andre Lane who’s accused of abusing her two-year-old daughter, before testifying against him
Still missing: Bianca’s father appeared in court on Wednesday in charges related to her disappearance last December
Beating: Prosecutors say Lane, 32, fatally beat the girl with a stick that was wrapped in a towel after she wet herself
Prosecutors now claim that Lane, who has fathered seven children with seven women, beat Bianca to death with a stick with a towel wrapped in duct tape, before disposing of her body.
His admittance to police of having spanked the child for wetting herself, amplified prosecutor’s claims.
‘He believed that if 2-year-olds had accidents they should be physically punished,’ Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb told jurors. ‘The defendant staged a carjacking to cover up the death of his baby.’
Lane put the child’s body in the car the next day as he was going to take an older daughter and a nephew to school, Goldfarb said.
‘The defendant staged a carjacking to cover up the death of his baby,’ the prosecutor said.
Defense attorney Terry Johnson has said prosecutors have no evidence against Lane and their ‘case is based on the argument that he spanked her.’
Carjacking: Less than an hour after the father reported his car being carjacked from him last December with the child inside, police recovered the vehicle but the girl was gone
Involvement: Lane, pictured with investigators, was active in the search efforts for the girl while also speaking out for the public’s help
Search efforts: Dozens of volunteers searched some of the worst areas of Detroit looking for the girl last winter, though her body has not been recovered
Johnson told the jury there was no evidence of physical harm and that while Lane may have hit the girl with a stick, it had a protective cover to prevent harm.
Johnson also said Lane was distraught at the disappearance of his daughter and cooperated with police.
‘They want to paint him as the embodiment of evil,’ said Johnson.
The defense lawyer told jurors that prosecutors are asking them to take a ‘leap of faith’ and convict Lane.
‘I don’t want you to take a leap of faith; I want you to walk through the evidence step by step,’ Johnson said.
Beliefs: Banika Jones is seen during her testimony while having previously told the public she believed the girl’s father truly cared about Bianka and wanted her home
Defense: Lane is seen listening to his defense attorney Terry L. Johnson, who argues there being no physical evidence of the father harming the girl
Charges: Lane has been charged with first-degree child abuse and murder during a felony of the girl, which carries a mandatory punishment of life in prison
During their search efforts last winter, D’Andre Lane had begged the public’s help finding his daughter – a plea that inspired dozens of volunteers to comb some of the city’s roughest neighbourhoods in early December.
‘Please, please don’t stop looking,’ he said on December 8.
‘We love her and we want her home,’ Biana’s mother Banika Jones had said during their hunt. ‘Bianca, Mommy has lots and lots of gingerbread men for you when you get home.’
Asked about the girl’s relationship with the father, the mother said at the time: ‘I know he probably wants to see Bianca home as much as I do … He’s never been anything but loving and committed to her.’
Lane has been charged with first-degree child abuse and murder during a felony, which carries a mandatory punishment of life in prison.