22 year-old Robert A. Stivers of Pana appeared in custody in a courtroom at the Christian County Courthouse on Monday morning for a preliminary hearing. Stivers is represented by Public Defender Greg Grigsby. Christian County State’s Attorney, Michael Havera, called Special Agent John Yard from the Illinois State Police to the stand.
Yard testified about the interview that was conducted with Stivers and his account of what occurred on Friday, February 5. It was on that day Stivers’ four month old child was taken to Pana Community Hospital, and then transferred to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. The infant passed away during the early morning hours on February 8. Yard noted that interviews were conducted with family members, and specifically mentioned an interview with one neighbor who stated that he heard a child crying and loud noises earlier on that Friday. All family members stated they were concerned with Stivers temper, as he punched holes in the walls and doors in his apartment.
Yard also testified that Cardinal Glennon completed a medical affidavit and the injuries that the child had were non-accidental trauma. He also noted the autopsy is complete, but the report is not in yet. During cross examination, Grigsby asked Yard about statements in the interviews and medical tests. Yard told the defense that blood tests were conducted and the injuries are still consistent with non-accidental trauma.
Following cross examination, Havera stated it could be two to three weeks when the autopsy report comes in. A pre-trial hearing has been set for March 14 at 10 a.m., while jury trial is scheduled for May 23 at 8:30 a.m. Stivers is facing a charge of Aggravated Battery to a Child under the age of 13, which is a Class X felony, and is currently being held on $1 million cash bond.