A former Springfield daycare worker was found not guilty of aggravated battery to a child by a Sangamon County jury Tuesday afternoon.
Kallen Goodsite, 34, now of St. Louis, had been accused of injuring a three-year-old child in Jan. 26, 2017, incident at the Kid’s Castle Learning Center on the city’s west side.
The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated less than an hour.
Goodsite had maintained her innocence and said she wouldn’t give in to pleading guilty in a case that wound its way through the court system for nearly three years.
“It’s been (three years) of hell,” Goodsite admitted afterward. “My (13-year-old) daughter couldn’t have friends over at our own house because I was out on bond. I refused to plead guilty to something I did not do.”
In closing statements Tuesday, both Sangamon County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Shaw and defense attorney Michael Harmon said the video spoke for itself.
That video of the classroom incident Monday, nearly 40 minutes in length, was played for the jury Monday when Springfield Police Det. Jenifer Howard was on the stand. Prosecutors replayed portions of the video in closing statements.
While Assistant State’s Attorney Kendra Hansel said Goodsite “knew her actions could cause (the child) injuries,” Harmon countered that she “wasn’t’ knowingly trying to hurt the child.”
Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Charles Cavallo, a physician at Koke Mill Express Care, testified that he diagnosed the child as having a sprained wrist and prescribed a soft splint.
In cross-examination, Cavallo admitted he didn’t get much information from the child about the injury and said there was “a chance” that it could have been from a pre-existing condition.
“I don’t think they could prove it came from me,” Goodsite said of the injury, afterward. “Nobody knows how he sprained it.”
Goodsite was fired by Kid’s Castle owner Sheri Brown the day after the incident. Goodsite acknowledged that Brown asked if she wanted to watch the video.
“I did decline (to review the video) because I know what happened,” Goodsite said. “Clearly, the video shows that nothing intentional happened.”
Goodsite fought back tears when Sangamon County Chief Judge John Belz read the verdict and exchanged glances with her mother, Heidi, a teacher from St. Louis who was at the trial both days.
“When you are charged with something like this and you have to wait for three years, your life is on hold and it’s always in the back of your mind,” Heidi Goodsite said. “I never one time believed she did it.
″(Michael Harmon) has gone way beyond what he probably needed to for my daughter and it means the world to us.”
“The video,” Harmon said, about what tipped the jury. “We can’t change (what’s on it).
“The prosecutor’s office did a great job. They’re great to work against and work with. I thought we were in trouble with both their closing (statements).”
“This was a difficult case,” admitted State’s Attorney Dan Wright. “We respect the jury’s verdict and their service.”
Kallen Goodsite said Tuesday’s trip back to St. Louis was going to be a joyous one.
“My daughter said the other day before I left (St. Louis), ‘I hope you come home,’” recalled Goodsite. “And I’m really glad I’m going home because I love her so much and I can’t imagine my life without her.”