Woman testifies against husband at trial for child's death

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UNIONTOWN, Pa. - A father accused of killing his young daughter was ordered held for trial Wednesday.

Investigators said 1-and-a-half-year-old Caylee Burkholder was brutally beaten by her father, 30-year-old Domer Burkholder, in November. Domer Burkholder is charged with criminal homicide.

Channel 11’s Joe Holden (@WPXIJoeHolden) reported Domer Burkholder’s wife, Jessica Burkholder, was the key witness in Wednesday’s preliminary hearing.

Jessica Burkholder is also facing charges in connection with Caylee’s death. She is taking a plea deal of six to 23 months of incarceration in exchange for her testimony.

“She was a happy little girl. She was always smiling and playing around,” Jessica Burkholder said.

Testimony from Jessica Burkholder indicated Domer Burkholder was agitated from not being able to take Percocet on Nov. 14.

"He was acting angry like something was bothering him," Jessica said on the stand. "When he didn't have none (drugs), he acted different."

She continued, "Caylee was getting into stuff and he got angry and punched her in the stomach. Her hit her hard enough to make her cry."

Caylee, Jessica said, began to throw up and couldn't keep food down.

The following day, after admitted hesitation, Caylee was driven to the hospital and later flown to Children's in Pittsburgh, where she died.

"It should never have happened. It should’ve never happened,” Jessica Burkholder said.

Jessica Burkholder talked with Holden after the hearing about how hard her life has been since her daughter’s death.

She also talked about how she’s fighting to get her other three children returned to her custody from Child and Youth Services.

“I'm fighting to get my kids back. I'm doing everything -- taking classes, counseling, everything,” Jessica Burkholder said.

In response to criticism Jessica Burkholder has faced for not reacting fast enough to Caylee’s injuries, she said, “You can’t judge someone until you’ve walked in their shoes.”

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