Adrian Langlais, 2, vomited in the hours before he died, and was having trouble grasping things with his right hand. He didn’t speak. Later, he collapsed.
“There was just that breathing. That weird breathing,” the man accused of killing the boy testified Wednesday at his capital murder trial.
Christian Michael Tyrrell, 24, of Fort Worth, the boyfriend of Adrian’s mother, Jessica Langlais, was indicted on a capital murder warrant accusing him of killing the child by striking him with or against a hard surface before his death on March 19, 2015.
On the stand in his own defense Wednesday, Tyrrell testified that the boy’s mother killed her own son.
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“I didn’t touch him,” Tyrrell said.
Two years after Adrian’s death, in May, Langlais, 31, was indicted, accused of doing nothing while her son was being brutalized.
Tyrrell testified that he loved Jessica, and that he tried to save her by not telling investigators that he came home and saw evidence of injuries the toddler did not have before he left. Prosecutors countered that it was a lie Tyrrell kept telling for months.
He testified that he panicked that day.
He said they had been arguing for months about Jessica’s drinking, but when he left for the gym on March 17, both were fine.
Neither Jessica nor Adrian responded when he walked into their house in the 1900 block of Cedar Tree Drive.
Adrian was wearing a hat, his face was covered by an ice pack and he had a big bruise on the front of his forehead, Tyrrell said. Earlier Wednesday, Tyrrell testified that Adrian had suffered slight bruising from a fall from a playpen onto the carpet.
Tyrrell testified that he asked Jessica what happened to the little boy.
“And she says, ‘This is from the fall,’ ” Tyrrell said. “And I say, ‘There’s no way this is from the fall.’ ”
He suggested that they call an ambulance, “and she says, ‘No they’ll take my baby away and they’ll put me in jail,’ ” he testified.
The three-count indictment against Langlais accuses her of causing her son’s death, committing murder with the underlying offense of injury to a child and injury to a child by omission because she failed to seek medical attention for him.
The couple argued for the next 30 minutes, Tyrrell said.
“I’m pacing around,” Tyrrell testified. “I’m thinking what do I do. I’ve never been in this situation. I’m supposed to be the man in this house and try to fix this. That ain’t no man not to stand up against a girl. I ain’t no man gonna let that happen to this baby.”
They moved Adrian to the playpen and let him sit there for a while, Tyrell testified.
“I believed at that time that I did love her,” he said. “I protected the wrong person. I tried for the outcome where I don’t lose Adrian and she don’t lose Adrian and we don’t lose everything.”
Tyrrell testified that on March 18 he and Jessica believed Adrian was not feeling well, but would recover. Jessica began doing Google searches on the effects of head injuries and Tyrrell testified that he also began searching.
“He [Adrian] was able to answer but not to his full capacity,” Tyrrell said.
Then Adrian began to vomit, he said. After they cleaned him up and he was having trouble grasping things, Adrian’s eyes were alert, Tyrrell said.
“The focus is on him,” Tyrrell said. “There is no more arguing.”
Tyrrell said he called 911 after the boy collapsed. The paramedics offered him a ride to Cook Children’s Medical Center but Tyrrell said he refused so he could pick Jessica up and bring her to the hospital. Jessica went to the emergency room while Tyrrell parked the car, he testified.
Steve Gordon, Tyrrell’s defense attorney, said Tyrrell had the opportunity to set the record straight at the hospital, but did not take it.
“I chose to help Jessica,” Tyrrell said. “It was a stupid choice.”
Adrian was hospitalized on March 18, his birthday, and died the next day of what the medical examiner ruled was head trauma.
“Did you do enough to protect Adrian?” Gordon asked.
“No,” Tyrrell said. “I failed. I decided to protect the wrong person. I don’t know why. There will never be a good answer for that. And I’ll have to live with what I did for the rest of my life.”