MIAMI, Okla. – An Ottawa County judge will rule next week if a Missouri man will stand trial in the death of his former girlfriend’s 15-month-old daughter.
Travis Gerald Steed, 31, of Seligman, Mo, is charged in Ottawa County District Court in Miami with first-degree murder in the Feb. 26, 2006 death of McKenna Jayde White.
Special Judge Bill Culver will make his ruling on March 27, court officials said.
Wednesday’s preliminary hearing, Steed’s second hearing, was needed after District Attorney Eddie Wyant amended the charges.
Wyant said in an earlier interview the amended charge allows a jury to convict Steed of murder for either affecting the death of White by using unreasonable force or by simply permitting the use of unreasonable force upon her, which resulted in her death.
Catherine Jean White, 30, of Goodman, Mo., the toddler’s mother, testified in both preliminary hearings.
She is also charged with child neglect for her part in the child’s death.
McKenna was in the care of Steed, White’s then boyfriend when she died at a Miami motel. She had several blunt-force trauma impacts to her face and head, and she had a 5-inch skull fracture, a medical examiner's report stated.
White confessed to authorities she and Steed had used methamphetamine, according to a probable cause affidavit.
“White stated she used smoked ‘one or two hits’ and Steed used the rest of the methamphetamine,” the affidavit states.
"She was ice cold," White testified in the first preliminary hearing, on finding the baby lying on her stomach in her crib. McKenna’s body was stiff and that when she tried to roll McKenna over; she noticed the injury to her face.
White is to return to court March 28 for district court arraignment.