The League City man accused of beating his stepdaughter to death in 2016 told jurors Friday he saw the girl’s mother beat her with a stiletto heel shoe.
Evan David Nolan’s testimony came on the fifth day of a capital murder trial in which he is accused of beating Whitney Williams, 6, while he was watching her and his 1-year-old daughter in the family’s apartment.
Prosecutors have argued the child was injured and died in a very narrow window of time when only Nolan could have been responsible, but his testimony Friday struck back against the accusations.
“I did not kill that girl,” Nolan said.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, grilled Nolan about his behavior the day Whitney Williams was rushed to the hospital.
Whitney died from severe injuries, including brain trauma, a lacerated liver and internal bleeding.
Brithony Williams, the child’s mother, arrived at the family home on the evening of Aug. 16, 2016, after hearing about Whitney misbehaving and took the girl into the bedroom and closed the door, Nolan said.
After hearing several deep thuds, which he said were not what you’d expect from a spanking, Nolan opened the door to find Brithony Williams kneeling over her daughter with a stiletto heel shoe in her hand, Nolan said.
“I walked in and I said ‘that’s enough,’” Nolan said.
Brithony Williams kept Whitney in the room and Nolan heard about five more thuds after he left, he said. The two came out of the room a little later and Whitney got in the shower, Nolan said.
The child had several marks on her body, Nolan said.
“That wasn’t the first time I saw her whip Whitney,” Nolan said. “But I loved that woman. I probably should have called the police, looking back on things. But I figured she had it under control.”
The next day, Nolan was watching the two children when Whitney’s left leg collapsed and she hit a door with her head, triggering a seizure, Nolan said.
The defense first introduced the possibility of Whitney having a seizure when they called Paul Radelat, a clinical pathologist, Thursday to discuss the child’s injuries.
Whitney had suffered a head injury several days before Aug. 16, 2016, and that first injury caused a slow bleed, which led to a seizure, Radelat testified.
The girl seemed to recover after the seizure and took a shower and laid down for a nap, but did not wake up again, Nolan said.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Adam Poole disputed Nolan’s testimony, however, honing in on the timeline of Aug. 17, 2016, when Nolan was watching the children.
Nolan said Whitney’s seizure happened about lunchtime, but he continued to exchange mundane text messages with Brithony Williams until about 4:30 p.m., Poole said.
“You skipped telling her about the seizure and just told her she was taking a cold shower?” Poole asked.
Nolan texted Brithony Williams to come home about 4:30 p.m. She arrived home to find her daughter unconscious on a blanket and rushed her out the door before speaking with anyone else, Brithony Williams testified earlier in the trial.
Nolan said he didn’t realize anything was wrong until Whitney didn’t wake up from a nap.
After Brithony Williams left for the hospital, Nolan stayed with the 1-year-old daughter before taking her to Kroger, where a friend picked him up and they went to the friend’s apartment, Nolan said.
Police went to that apartment several times that evening, but Nolan didn’t speak with them because he was waiting to get an attorney, he said.
Poole asked why Nolan had not just driven Whitney to the hospital himself and why he took so many steps to avoid the police.
“Looking back, that’s what I should have done,” Nolan said. “She said she would take care of it.”
A League City police officer driving to work the evening of Aug. 17, 2016, spotted a motorist driving recklessly and stopped the vehicle in the 1500 block of East Main Street.
Brithony Williams got out of the vehicle carrying her unconscious daughter, police said.
Emergency medical personnel attempted CPR on the girl before taking her to Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, and later to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where she died the next day.
Williams initially told detectives a baby sitter had been watching her children, but she could not provide police with a phone number, according to police affidavits.
Williams told police the baby sitter had called her at work to tell her Whitney had suffered a seizure and hit her head, according to the affidavits.
When detectives questioned Williams about text messages with Nolan, indicating he was watching the girl, she told investigators Nolan had been watching her daughters at the couple’s League City apartment, according to the affidavits.
League City police and U.S. Marshals arrested Nolan after a traffic stop the day after officers encountered the girl, police said.
The jury began deliberating a verdict Friday, but adjourned for the weekend. Deliberations are scheduled to resume Monday.