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Trial begins for Springfield man accused in killing of girlfriend, unborn child

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 11:22 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The state began its case in the trial of a Springfield man accused of killing his girlfriend and her unborn child more than four years ago.

Derik Osborn faces two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, Valerie Williams, and her unborn baby. She was around 16 weeks pregnant at the time.

The defense waived its opening statement. The prosecution summarized its case about what happened early the morning of March 1, 2017. Officers found Derik Osborn doing CPR on Valerie Williams in the bedroom. In talking with officers, they say Osborn gave multiple different stories, saying he just found her not breathing in bed, then saying she fell and hit her head, and telling another officer she tried to use mace on him, and she fell when he tried to grab it. An officer testified an orange stain on the front of Valerie’s neck could have been pepper spray.

An autopsy showed multiple abrasions and bruises, lacerations to her liver, and a skull fracture. The medical examiner found Valerie’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

After doctors and officers saw Valerie’s injuries at the hospital, they went back to talk to Osborn, and found he had been sleeping. His attorney says he had drank alcohol and taken a sleeping pill.

The doctor who pronounced Valerie dead said she had a skull fracture consistent with blunt force trauma and that traumatic brain injury was the cause of her death. He also testified for the defense that one can suffer traumatic brain injury from a fall less than 6 feet.

The prosecution argues there were previous domestic violence calls involving the couple, one happening three weeks before her death.

Osborn told officers Valerie’s fall happened in the living room. But investigators testified they found a canister of mace or pepper spray in the bathtub and some of the orange spray on the bathtub wall and the toilet. A next door neighbor testified about hearing a crash against the wall in his dining room, which is the wall shared with Osborn’s bathroom. He testified he heard arguing and screaming on the other side of his apartment wall and multiple crashes, including one that shook the wall, pictures, and table in his apartment. The defense argued the neighbor’s testimony was different than what he told officers at the time.

Officers testified about their interactions with Osborn. They say Osborn was calm and quiet. One officer noted Osborn appeared nervous and evasive.

A judge ordered Osborn out on bond in 2018, with no GPS tracking, but requiring drug tests. The case is a bench trial in Judge Calvin Holden’s courtroom.

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