Mother Testifies Against Couple Accused of Caging Autistic Boys
The trial of John Eckhardt and Alayna Higdon continued yesterday, with Higdon's mother testifying that she rarely saw the two autistic boys the couple is accused of unlawfully imprisoning out of their caged room:
The mother of one of the defendants, Alayna Higdon, took the stand on the second day of trial of Higdon, 27, and her boyfriend, John Eckhart, 31. She first told jurors she routinely stopped by her daughter’s apartment about twice a month. When Higdon and Eckhart first moved into the Springfield Meadows apartments off Andresen Road, Alice Higdon said, the boys were just kept behind a baby gate.
The security measures increased to wire shelving bolted so that it covered the entire doorway of the boys’ sparse bedroom in early 2011.
“They were pretty much back there every time I went,” she said.
On cross-examination, she changed her story:
Pressed by the defense lawyers, Alice Higdon shifted her testimony to say she saw the boys, then 5 and 7, outside the room about three times, on special occasions.
“Bottom line, Ms. Higdon: You have no idea how often the boys were out of the room,” defense attorney Jon McMullen asked.
“No, I wasn’t there,” Alice Higdon said.
Some of Alayna Higdon's statements to the police were ruled inadmissible because they were made before she was read her Miranda rights.