Attorneys have begun picking a jury in a trial of a Gainesville man accused of causing the death of an 18-month-old girl last June.
Stephen Clark West is one of two people charged in the killing of Kaylee Kipp, who died as a result of being struck with a blunt object at a Gainesville apartment complex in June 2011.
Kaylee’s mother, Deanna Renee Kipp, has also been charged.
Deanna Kipp and West have been charged with malice murder, aggravated assault, cruelty to a child in the first degree and two counts of felony murder. According to police, West and Kipp were romantically involved at the time of the child’s death. They have remained in jail since their arrest last year.
Deanna Kipp is expected to be tried later this year.
District Attorney Lee Darragh said West’s trial, which began with jury selection Monday, could last up to two weeks.
West, 23, is represented by Gainesville attorney Leonard Parks Jr. Before his arrest, West was a delivery driver for a local sandwich chain.
Jurors were questioned about their knowledge of the restaurant during the selection process Monday.
Parks also quizzed potential jurors Monday on whether or not they had ever lived with another person who had children or if they believed children were “incapable” of making up allegations of abuse.
On the other side, chief assistant district attorney Lindsay Burton questioned members of the jury pool on their experiences with child abuse, whether they knew anyone who had used the prescription drug Xanax and what types of disciplinary methods they had used on their children.
Both West and Kipp were arrested in June 2011 after Gainesville police responded to On Riverside Condominiums after a report of an unresponsive child.
When police arrived, Kipp said Kaylee was sleeping when she checked on the child at 9 a.m. The next time Kipp went downstairs, she said the child wasn’t breathing.
But emergency responders described Kaylee Kipp’s body as “cold to the touch” and stiff upon their arrival.
Investigators who later examined the child’s body said they found “a small scrape above her right eye on top of her forehead” in addition to “other small scratches and red areas.”
Police accused the couple of assaulting Kaylee Kipp with an unspecified “blunt object” sometime between June 11 and 12, causing swelling of the brain and death.
Court documents allege Deanna Kipp also “willfully deprive(d) the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the health and well-being of Kaylee Kipp was jeopardized by failing to seek medical care for the child after injury.”
In addition to the charges she and West share, Deanna Kipp has also been charged with an additional count each of felony murder and cruelty to a child.