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Witness: Child murder suspect never alone with victim

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Hamtramck — The sister of a Hamtramck woman charged in the October death of her 16-month-old daughter testified Wednesday that the defendant said her child was never left alone with her boyfriend, who is also charged in the case.

Asia Markham, 27, and Christopher Scott Olinger, 23, are charged in the death of Asia Markham’s 16-month-old daughter, Amina Markham.

“She had told me that Amina was a very active child and she never left Amina alone with Christopher,” said Shauntavia Markham, one of three witnesses who testified during a preliminary examination before Judge Alexis Krot in 31st District Court in Hamtramck.

Asia Markham, 27, and Christopher Scott Olinger, 23, are charged with first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of Asia Markham’s daughter, Amina Markham.

Around 11:30 a.m. Oct. 25 police arrived at a home in the 2600 block of Commer and found the child unresponsive, authorities said.

Asia Markham, dressed in a white dress shirt under a gray sweater, leaned over the table and cried during the court proceeding. At times she looked in the direction Olinger who, clad in a jail jumpsuit, showed no emotion.

During her testimony, Shauntavia Markham said she had a text message conversation with her sister in September, after she questioned why the child walked with a limp. She testified that her sister told her the child had injured herself after jumping off a toilet.

As if to highlight the boyfriend’s involvement — or lack thereof — in the child’s care, Olinger’s defense attorney, Lillian Diallo, focused on Shauntavia Markham’s testimony.

“Did you testify that per some conversation ... that Amina, the baby, was never left alone with Christopher?” Diallo asked.

“Yes. She did tell me that,” Shauntavia Markham said.

Defendant Christopher Olinger listens to testimony.

During earlier testimony Wednesday, Lokman Sung, assistant medical examiner with the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, said the child’s injuries before her death included 16 blunt force impacts to her face and skull, as well as internal bleeding and bruising.

The injuries occurred around the same time and shortly before her death, Sung said. In general, it would be a few hours at the most that the child would live after sustaining such injuries, he said.

When the prosecution asked if the child could have suffered the injuries from a fall, perhaps from a changing table, Sung replied “One bruise maybe, but the extent or totality of the injuries would not.”

The preliminary examination was scheduled to continue Dec. 27 because one witness, another sister of Markham’s, failed to appear in court.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

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