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Mother, sister testify in Shane trial

WORTHINGTON -- Testimony was heard Wednesday morning from both the mother and sister of Lisa Shane, who is on trial for the murder of her 3-month-old daughter, Ashanta.

Shane, 20, of Adrian, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of child neglect in August 2005 after her daughter died in November 2004. The cause of death was determined to be closed head trauma due to child abuse. The manner of death was ruled as homicide.

Shane has accused the baby's father of coming to her home on Oct. 28, 2004, and pushing her, forcing her to drop the baby, who then hit her head on a metal futon frame. Jose Chavarria, the baby's father, was released from jail the day of the incident and has stated he was never at Shane's home in Adrian. Medical experts have testified that dropping the baby onto the metal frame would not cause the extent of injuries the child sustained.

Tess Shane, the accused's sister, told the jury on Wednesday she had watched the baby for a short time in the early afternoon and had not noticed any problems other than the baby being fussy.

"She didn't really want to eat," Tess said.

When Tess asked Lisa why the baby was so fussy, Lisa said it was a side effect from getting an RSV shot that morning.

After returning from a second job shortly after 9 p.m., Tess said Ashanta was "a little bit changing color and wasn't very responsive."

Later, Tess said the baby was non-responsive.

"She wasn't moving," she explained. "You'd move her arm, and she'd just let it fall back down."

Rather than seek medical attention for the child, Tess and Lisa -- who are both certified nurse's aides -- decided to call their mother, Pam Shane, who was an LPN and not due home from work until after 11 p.m.

Pam said she had received a call from Tess before supper time.

"Tess said the baby was pale and didn't look like she felt very good," Pam said.

Lisa called at approximately 9 p.m. to say the baby wasn't looking any better and was kind of shaky, Pam added.

"Lisa called again at 10:30 and wanted me to come right home," she said. "I told her to wait, and if she couldn't wait, to take her in (to the emergency room)."

When Pam got home, Lisa and the baby were still there. She and Lisa took Ashanta to the hospital right away, and Pam then returned to her home to watch the other children.

Pam said Lisa called later to say the baby was going to Sioux Valley Hospital with a head injury and probably would not live.

"Did you ask her what happened?" Assistant Attorney General William Klumpp asked.

"Not over the phone," Pam replied.

Both Tess and Pam said they did not like Chavarria. They both admitted they had given Lisa an ultimatum about him, telling her they would not talk to her or continue to help her with her four children if she kept seeing him.

"Would it be fair to say you couldn't stand him?" Defense attorney Christina Weitzema asked.

"Yes," Tess answered.

"When you gave this ultimatum, what did she say she was going to do?" Klumpp asked Pam.

"She said she was going to call the police if he showed up," Pam replied. "But it had happened before, and she hadn't."

The trial continues today with testimony from a special agent from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.