Murder trial set in infant’s death

Prosecutor won’t seek death penalty in 2010 incident at day care center

Lyons Lyons SAN MARCOS—A final pre-trial session in the case of a former day care center owner, charged with causing the death of the 10-week- old son of an ex-Rockdale Junior High band director, is scheduled next week in Hays County 22nd District Court.

Christina Suzanne Lyons, 32, was indicted earlier this year for capital murder in connection with the Nov. 25, 2010, death of Benjamin Spencer, son of Duane (Dee) and Robin Spencer. Dee Spencer was RJH band director from 2006 to 2009.

Lyons will appear in court Wednesday, Dec. 14, to hear the last of numerous pre-trial motions. Her jury trial is set to begin March 12 before Judge William R. Henry.

NO DEATH PENALTY—Prosecutor Sherri Tibbe is not seeking the death penalty.

She said Texas law allows for a capital murder charge when the victim is under age six.

Lyons’ attorney, Jason Trumpler of Austin, says the death was not intentional and that other charges, including negligent homicide, could apply instead.

TR AUMA—Benjamin Spencer was being cared for at Little Lyons Cub Daycare in Kyle.

Dee Spencer is director of bands at Simons Middle School in the Hays Consolidated School District, while Robin Spencer is employed at a Lockhart nursing and rehabilitation center.

The couple also has a three-year-old daughter.

Police and first responders were called to the center, in the Lyons home, Nov. 18, 2010, and found a child with severe head and chest injuries.

Benjamin was taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, where he died a week later.

According to the arrest warrant, the infant sustained multiple rib injuries and “severe head trauma.”

INJURIES—Trumpler said Lyons told Hays County Child Protective Service she left the napping infant unattended on a couch while she went to smoke a cigarette, use the restroom and sort laundry.

When she returned 15 minutes later, according to the attorney, Lyons found the infant in the back yard, being clutched by her four-year-old daughter, and noticed the injuries.

Police have said they do not believe the force required to cause the injuries could have been generated by a child.

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2011-12-08 digital edition

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