how little Cedra
The government's witnessBy Susan Kreifels
says he kept quiet because he
feared losing his son
Mika Mika Jr. said he knew little Cedra Edwards could be dying.
He told jurors that he watched Cedra's mother punch and use her heels to stomp on the 20-month-old child, refuse to give her anything to drink, and stick her head under scalding water. He listened to Cedra moan for days, and saw her bruised body and bloated tummy.
He tried to get the child's fever down, Mika said yesterday as he continued to testify at Jennifer Edwards' Circuit Court murder trial. He pulled Cedra's mattress to his side of the bed the night she died because he worried about her.
"I don't think Cedra is going to make it," he recalled telling her mother. "She appeared pretty much dead."
Yet Mika didn't take Cedra to the hospital. He said he didn't report the alleged abuse to authorities, and by the time she stopped breathing, his cardiopulmonary resuscitation efforts were too late.
He told no one, he testified, because he feared he would lose the son he shared with Edwards if social workers saw Cedra's bruises.
Mika said he knew government social workers were in the courtroom listening to his testimony, and knows he could lose his son, who is in state custody.
"More than anything," he said, he wants his son back.
Deputy Public Defender Ed Harada has warned jurors they must carefully weigh the testimony from Mika, the government's star witness in Edward's second-degree murder trial. Cedra died Dec. 17, 1997.
Harada said Mika was arrested in connection with Cedra's death but never charged. Mika could, however, still be charged and is technically still a suspect, he said.
Mika said he's cooperating fully with the government.
Under the law, a person cannot be criminally charged for failing to act in such situations unless the person has a legal duty to act on behalf of the child, such as a parent or legal custodian.
Harada has described Mika as a "Jekyll and Hyde" who verbally and physically abused Edwards.
Mika admitted hitting Cedra once when she threw a toy at his infant son. He also said he hit Edwards once, but denied abusing them further.