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Mother Goes to Store, Returns to Dying Infant

In tearful testimony, the mother of a baby allegedly killed by her boyfriend tells her side of the story.

The mother of a baby who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend took the stand today.

She testified in the trial of her ex-boyfriend, Dannie Joe Farnum, 30, who was charged with inflicting injuries that killed the 7-month-old baby, John Thomas "Tommy" Garcia Jr. 

To read more about the case, .

Farnum allegedly injured the child on November 10, 2008, outside his girlfriend's trailer home in the 40000 block of Apple Road in Anza, prosecutor Jennifer Garcia argued Monday during opening statements.

The infant boy's biological father, John Thomas Garcia Sr., died shortly after he was born.

“My late husband and I were apprehensive at first when we found out I was pregnant, but we were happy,” Delize Sharon Preston, the child's mother, said from the stand.

In a tragic turn of events, her husband died suddenly when Tommy was just 3 months old.

Shortly thereafter, she began dating the defendant.

“I know it sounds odd dating so soon. I never went out. Johnny (ex-husband) was my only friend,” she said.

Preston and her children lived in a single wide trailer on 61 acres in Anza where Farnum often stayed with his kids, she told the court.

Soon after Preston began dating Farnum, she felt she was being used by him.

“He never contributed to anything, never helped with food, and had no car or money,” she said. “He would take my car and my gas card and disappear for two days."

Preston and Farnum argued occasionally, but never hit or harmed each other, she testified.

A grim discovery

Preston woke up around 6 am to give Tommy a bottle and start her day getting her other kids up for school.

“Tommy was a little fussy. He had impetigo near his mouth that started spreading to his ear. He also had a cold in his eyes, and I had to wipe his eyes with a warm cloth to clear away the crust,” Preston said.

The prosecuting attorney projected photos of the baby's body on a screen above the witness stand.

The first photo showed a picture of a red mark on the underside of Tommy's arm.

“I don’t remember seeing that mark,” Preston said fighting back tears.

The next photo was of the side of Tommy’s face showing a red sore near his ear.

“I knew about his rashes on his mouth and ear, but not anywhere else,” she said.

Preston and Farnum regularly used methamphetamine and smoked marijuana, but not on the day Tommy died.

In the late afternoon, she wrapped Tommy in a blanket and went outside on the porch for a little fresh air, she said. "There was a cold wind blowing so I went back inside."

"I asked Dannie to give Tommy a bottle and lay him down for a nap while I went to the store to buy ground meat to make Hamburger Helper," she recounted.

When she returned from the store, she peeked in on Tommy, who appeared to be asleep in his crib, she said.

Photos of the bedroom shown to the court depicted a soiled and bare mattress, clothing and personal items strewn about and a messy crib tucked to the side of the bed.

To see the photos, .

As she was preparing dinner, she heard Dannie yelling from the bedroom.

"He yelled, 'Sharon, Tommy's not breathing.' He sounded scared," she recalled.

She turned the hot plate off and bolted into the room, where she saw Dannie giving Tommy C.P.R.

"Dannie was cradling Tommy in his arms and giving him chest compressions and breathing into his mouth," Preston said. "I was in an absolute panic and called 911."

The prosecution then played the grainy 911 recording in which Preston begs the 911 operator for help and gives directions to the home.

As the recording was playing, Preston broke down sobbing.

The ambulance and fire department arrived and began working on the baby.

"The emergency workers told me to wait outside because they needed the space to work on Tommy," she explained.

On the way to the hospital, Preston said she asked Farnum what happened.

"He said he didn't know," she said.

While at the hospital, Preston was informed by hospital personnel that Tommy had passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

"I just couldn't believe it. He seemed fine, there was nothing wrong with him," she stated. "After we left the hospital, I never asked Dannie again what had happened."

She never suspected foul play, she said.

"I believed what they told me, that he died from SIDS, so I had no reason to question the cause of death," she said.

Brenda September 22, 2011 at 04:09 PM
I 2nd that, why were no charges filed against her? Child protective services can be out in 1 hour if you refuse to pick up your teenage from school because they have been hitting you, and then go through a year of like 10 of them working on your case, but these babies..............??? If anyone has dealt with Cps before.........I had been a foster mom, emergency type situation for 2 children over the years and that end was easy. But have to tell you these Cps workers are fresh out of college, talk about wet behind the ears, they do not have chldren or teenagers of their own, and do NOT have a clue what is going on. They go by the Cps Text book, and that is why some of these children are left in danger so long its too late. Here is a 24 yr old "book learned" Cps worker, or up to 10 of them working different parts of one case and one doesnt know what the others are doing. You can take that comment to the bank also. Its logs and logs of paperwork is all they do from every conversation of whom they talk to. Thats it, paperwork. Its a horrible system, absolutely horrible and until someone starts holding them accountable it will continue the same.
Brenda September 22, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Pacific? Arrogance? I see nothing in my post to be referred to as arrogance. You appear to look through rose colored glasses like I used to, and yes I pass judgement on this woman and anyone who knew of the conditions of her, her children and that house. The woman has 3 children, she qualifed for so much help through our tax payer dollars. She did NOT have to live like that, she chose to. Section 8, food stamps, free health care(have to get off your drug filled butt and take the children however), free/low cost day care so she can work,college or a trade school. Help from churches etc. in the area to help her get a start on cleaning out her trailer, cleaning up her life, getting off drugs, caring for her children. In those moments she was not under the influence she should have reached out BECAUSE OF HER CHILDREN, to those who would gladly help. If she has family or friends they should be ASHAMED for not helping, doing an intervention and calling in everyone, city, state, cps programs. THEY DONT JUST APPEAR LIKE GUARDIAN ANGELS PACIFICM, you have to ask, go to them, apply for benefits. But that was not what was most important to her, it was drugs. There was no "inability" to realize she needed help, drugs are easier, and they deliver. As we know now, Cps had been there the day before, and left those children in that condition. Mom, 3 months of jail time is all she got for the death of her child. Our system definately failed in not removnig those children that day.
Brenda September 23, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Pacific, seriously? Its not my expectations, its the roll she took on when she had sex, got pregnant, had babies, a mother. Has nothing to do with all your blah blah blah, nor putting them down. Its listing the multiple opportunities and help that are available especially to single moms that she could have taken advantage of to help her and her chlldren if she had done it in one moment of coherent drugless thought. The only thing I agree with to some degree is shit does happen and most times in the worse of ways before someone sees the light of changing, and I am right there with other people, and definately have made my mistakes in life and in parenting. Soap box, lord you cover so many things including abortion, nags, telling me to go and help, blah blah, and starving children in Africa. You are right about one thing. I am not concerned as much with starving children in Africa as I am with our own starving country of families, children, out of work, homeless, sick either mentally or physically, drug addicts and no place to put them or help them. We cant help our own people in the USA in major areas, but in this ladies case there was help, and there was a Cps system that failed the day before in removing the child. In a perfect world the system would have worked and she would have gotten help. ;/
Pacificmarlin September 23, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Brenda in a perfect world you would of been her mother.
tete September 27, 2011 at 03:49 AM
It does not matter if they were track home trash, trailer trash or custome home trash. The house has nothing to do with what kind of life style they had. I happen to know some custome home trash people who are drug addicts and it also affects their children. It is really the kind of people they are not what kind of house they live in. There was a neighborhood where we lived in and there were some parents that were not taking care of a child properly so all of us neighbours came together to help raise that child.Sometimes it just takes a whole village to raise a child as they say. That child knew that she could go to anyone of the neighbors who were home whenever she wanted. That child turned out to be quite a respectable good person with the help of all of the community.This family in this article obviously had too many serious problems and that poor little sweet baby had to pay for it with his life, absolutely heart breaking.The neighbors need to step in and do their best to help whenever possible.Offer to have the child come over to one of the neighbors house when the mother goes to the store.We as neighbours just need to make ourselves available especially if we ever see a child in need. I know first hand by just being there for children how just the little things in life can make a world of difference in one child's life

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