FORT WORTH -- Tears rolled down Ryka Hopper's face Tuesday as prosecutors told a jury that she stood by while her boyfriend repeatedly abused her 2-year-old daughter so severely that the child will never recover.
"How long would you watch your child lay there unconscious before you call 911?" Assistant District Attorney Eric Nickols asked. "It's unimaginable how a parent could watch a kid suffer like this and not do anything. ... All she cared about is keeping a man."
Hopper, 28, of Mansfield is on trial in the 213th State District Court on charges of injury to a child by omission for failing to seek help to stop the repeated abuse of her young daughter, Anika White, who is now in a vegetative state in a long-term care facility.
The woman's live-in boyfriend, Adam Carroll Palmer, 28, also of Mansfield, will stand trial separately on two counts of injury to a child and aggravated assault charges. Palmer had previously served prison time for an unrelated 2003 child-injury case.
Defense attorney Brett Boone told jurors that Palmer "beats women and children" and was to blame for the abuse.
The first witness in the case, Dr. James Matson, a pediatric critical-care physician at Dallas Medical City children's hospital, testified that little Annie, as she was known, was in a coma with evidence of repeated head and brain injuries when she arrived from an Arlington hospital in July 2010.
The child was also covered in bruises from what appeared to be multiple incidents of abuse. Family members told the doctor that the child hadn't walked in 17 days and had had multiple seizures.
Matson said Annie is unlikely to recover and likely will die as her brain continues to deteriorate.
"Her brain was disastrously injured," the doctor said. "She's in a severely debilitated state."
One of the jurors grimaced and shook her head as the doctor testified.
Testimony will continue this week.
Dianna Hunt, 817-390-7084