BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer email@example.com
By all accounts 3-year-old James Lee Fanshier was well-loved by Stormy Roberts, the woman who cared for him after James' biological parents took a lesser role in his life.
But prosecutors say Roberts' boyfriend, Dustin Wedel, didn't share that same love.
Wedel is accused of inflicting injuries on the toddler including broken ribs, a broken arm, injuries to his pancreas, bowels and genitals, and bruising over much of his body.
The boy, James Fanshier, died Jan. 23, 2011 as a result of multiple blunt force injuries, according to the coroner's office.
Wedel's trial on charges of murder, willful cruelty to a child and assault, and a custodian assaulting a child resulting in death began Friday. Wedel has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Wedel's attorney, Fred Gagliardini, said during opening arguments that investigators were unable to determine exactly when James suffered some of his injuries. The attorney said Wedel didn't stay with Roberts and the boy during about half the week of Sept. 17-23, when many of the injuries are believed to have occurred.
Gagliardini said the boy told Roberts his biological mother hurt his arm; another time he said his biological father, Evan Fanshier, was responsible for a deep cut on his penis.
Roberts and Evan Fanshier had dated for a time, but split up because Roberts didn't believe in corporal punishment, Gagliardini said. The final straw, he said, came when she saw Fanshier beating James with a belt.
Prosecutor Andrea Kohler said Wedel was the only person with James when his most severe injuries occurred. James suffered a transected duodenum -- the first part of his small intestine was split open -- between six to 12 hours before his death.
She said Wedel was the only person with James during that time. Wedel met Roberts, who had been working, outside the home on Jan. 23 and told her the boy was very sick. James didn't get out of bed that day. He died that evening.
Kohler said Wedel had told Roberts that he wanted James returned to his biological father. Roberts, she said, doted on the boy.
"Stormy Roberts lavished attention on him, not Wedel," Kohler said.