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Tuesday, May 4, 1999



Mother of dead
baby is accused
of lying in her
murder trial

The mom's boyfriend said
she asked him to take the
blame for the death of
the 20-month-old baby girl

By Lori Tighe
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

As Mika Mika Jr. and Jennifer Edwards drove beaten and unresponsive Cedra to the hospital, Edwards asked Mika to tell police he killed the baby because he could defend himself better in prison, he testified.

"She told me to take the blame. She said, 'You'd be safer in prison,' " Mika testified. Mika was Edwards' boyfriend.

Edwards testified to just the opposite Friday. She said Mika told her to take the blame and tell authorities childhood abuse by her own father caused her to do it.

The state laid out a pattern of Edwards' alleged lies yesterday in her murder trial by ticking off inconsistencies to her story one by one.

Cedra, 20 months old , died Dec. 17, 1997, from an infection caused by a rupture in her small bowel after being kicked. Her mother, Edwards, is accused of the murder.

Mika, broad shouldered with a goatee and pony tail, told Deputy Prosecutor Lucianne Khalaf he never put Cedra in the freezer to treat her for a fever as Edwards claimed. Neither did he call Cedra a "bald-headed bitch." And neither did he beat Edwards or try to prevent her from seeing her family.

After deputy public defender Ed Harada reminded Mika of the penalty for perjury, Mika said he hit Edwards once as he originally testified. He also got jealous of a man talking to Edwards at a carnival, he said.

Edwards cried softly during Mika's testimony.

The defense had argued Mika was a "Jekyll and Hyde," who verbally and physically abused Edwards. In addition, her father sexually and physically abused her, Harada said. The abusive situation caused Edwards to lose control and unintentionally lash out at her child.

Her brother, Eddie Edwards Jr., testified he visited Mika and Edwards in their apartment as often as three times a week and stayed over many weekends. This rebutted Edwards' claim that Mika tried to prevent her from seeing her family.

He also said he never saw bruises on Edwards, or signs that Mika was beating her.

The prosecution asked Edwards Jr. how his father disciplined them.

"I got slapped on the back a few times. When dad got out of the military he mellowed out and began lecturing us," said Edwards Jr., who also said he never saw his dad abuse his sister.

But when the defense asked him how Mika treated Cedra, Edwards Jr. answered, "He kind of neglected Cedra. He was in the room and she was in the room, but he acted like only he was in the room."

Mika's hanai mother, Lani Gilbert, and her daughter testified they never had any reason to believe Mika beat Edwards or Cedra.



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