MARY HUDETZ Associated Press - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Omaree Varela's 7-year-old sister said her stepfather and mother kicked and punched her older brother the day police said he was beaten to death at an Albuquerque home.
Police said they found 9-year-old Omaree Varela unresponsive at the home of Casaus and Synthia Varela-Casaus on the afternoon of Dec. 27, 2013. The boy was pronounced dead roughly an hour later.
The girl's testimony Friday represents the most serious and direct accusation from a witness during trial against Stephen Casaus, who faces charges including child abuse resulting in death.
Now seven, she testified via remote Friday morning.
She told prosecutors both her parents hurt Omaree.
"They grabbed him and punched him and kicked him," said the girl.
She also said she was scared of both her parents and that she heard Omaree screaming for help.
But the defense said she may have been was coaxed to include her stepdad.
They read the child transcripts of what she initially told investigators after Omaree died.
"Your Momma did something mean so Omaree went to heaven, do you remember saying that," asked the defense. "Yes," said the girl.
The defense also said Omaree's little sister changed her story many months after Omaree's death after living with her aunt.
Casaus was in tears all through the girl's testimony. At one point, he kissed his hand then touched the screen.
The mother, who hasn't been tried yet, admitted after her arrest to kicking her son. She has recanted that confession.
Varela-Casaus is expected to stand trial separately.