Trial underway for Ludlow man accused of murdering girlfriend’s baby

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) – The trial began Monday for a Ludlow man accused in the 2018 killing of his girlfriend’s 11-month-old baby. Prosecutors say it was an act of jealousy, but defense lawyers say the evidence doesn’t back it up.

“He was strangled or smothered or a combination of both,” said Assistant Vt. Attorney General Robert Lees told the jury.

Karsen Rickert, 11-month-old, was found unconscious in his bed the morning of January 11, 2018. The baby, who was 11 months old, was taken to the hospital and declared dead. The baby was living in Ludlow, Ohio with his mother Abigail Wood and Tyler Pollender-Savery, his boyfriend. Prosecutors allege that Pollender-Savery was the one who had the opportunity and the motivation for the crime. Police say he was jealous that Wood was looking for another place to live and believed she was rekindling a relationship with the baby’s father.

“She also decided, as you will hear, that she wanted to get back together with Karsen’s father,” Lees said.

Pollender-Savery faces 2nd-degree murder charges. On the first day of the trial, several witnesses were called, including Jeffrey Billings (Ludlow Police Chief), who was the first to arrive on the scene. He said he remembered asking Pollender-Savery about what had happened. “Said he got up approximately a quarter of seven, went in checked on Karsen. Karsen was still awake. He went out, made formula, milk, brought it back in, and then he went and took a shower,” Billings said.

Police say that’s when the boy’s mom frantically started telling him to call 911.

Both the chief and other first responders noticed bruising, scratches, and swelling around the baby’s neck. “I tried to intubate the patient and I noticed that there was a lot of swelling in the patient’s neck. I couldn’t visualize the patient’s vocal cords,” testified Ludlow EMT Stephanie Grover.

But Pollender-Savery’s attorney, David Sleigh, says the evidence is scant. He says the 11-month-old had fallen out of his bed at least once prior to the incident and that the baby’s mom told police she saw a blanket wrapped around his neck before changing her story. “She started to say, ‘No, there was no blanket near there.’ There was no blanket. The blanket had nothing to do with it,” Sleigh said.

The trial is expected to last for all of a week. The baby’s mother is expected to testify. We do not yet know if the defendant will testify.

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