Jury deliberations to resume in Corbett trial

Justin K. Corbett

Justin K. Corbett

DOVER — With no verdict on Wednesday afternoon, a jury will resume deliberations Thursday regarding a former Dover Air Force Base airman charged with beating a toddler to death while babysitting in 2012.

While Justin K. Corbett, 28, maintains that 21-month-old Evan J. Dudley accidentally fell down stairs at his residence on Nov. 3, 2012, prosecutors believe the child’s extensive injuries prove first-degree murder by abuse.

Along with a not guilty finding, the jury can also consider lesser included offenses second-degree murder by abuse, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. First-degree murder by abuse is a Class A felony with sentencing of 15 years to life possible.

After closing arguments ended at 12:05 p.m. in Kent County Superior Court, Judge Robert B. Young sent the jury – five men and 11 women before alternates were excused – away to consider evidence presented in the past two weeks.

At around 4:30 p.m., no verdict was returned and Judge Young excused the jury for the day.

Prosecution and defense spent approximately two hours reviewing testimony and evidence during closing statements, touching on medical expert opinions, first responder attempts to save the child, medical evaluations and the relationship between Mr. Corbett’s family and the community, incluing Evan’s mother Nicole Dudley.

At issue is what or who caused the injuries suffered by the child, including seven separate wounds under the scalp and injuries to the top of his head, jaw, nose, cheek, forehead, thigh and elbow, retinal hemorrhages to both eyes, and a  including one detached retina.

According to testimony, the child went 50 minutes without a pulse before being revived by medicine and a machine, and was considered brain dead upon arriving at Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover for initial treatment.

After being found in an apparent lifeless condition by paramedics arriving at Mr. Corbett’s home, the child died from injuries four days at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington.

The child’s mother was deployed by the Air Force in Qatar at the time of the incident, and Mr. Corbett’s wife had been appointed as a secondary caregiver in her absence.

Attorney William Deely represented Mr. Corbett in closings, with Deputy Attorney General Annmarie Puit arguing for the prosecution.

Mr. Corbett, a Magnolia resident, earlier received an honorable discharge from the Air Force.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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