By Pam Nichada
Today, co-defendant Patricia Kenard’s friend, Brandy Gates Burgess, testified she met Ms. Kenard five years ago while the co-defendant was participating in WIC, a special supplemental nutrition program for women carrying or with infant children. The program provides supplemental food, health care and nutrition education for pregnant and lactating women.
At that time she was pregnant with the alleged victim in this case. Ms. Gates Burgess said Ms. Kenard came to WIC seeking education based on the age of the pregnancy and what is to be done when the baby is born. Ms. Gates Burgess followed Ms. Kenard until she gave birth to her daughter. They become good friends. She asked Ms. Kenard if she could be the girl’s godmother, who did not hesitate to say yes.
There was a time that Ms. Kenard felt overwhelmed with her life. As a friend and a godmother, Burgess said she is willing to take care of the little girl. She said she is well aware of a significant responsibility of a mother, especially a mother with a child under three years old, because she herself has had three kids.
The little girl usually spends a night at the Burgess’s. Her kids and the little one are also good friends. She testified she knows, through Ms. Kenard, Crystal, who is the godmother of the little girl’s younger brother.
In summer 2018, the little girl stayed over at the Burgess’s for a month. The Burgesses want the little girl to live with them on a regular basis, so they moved to a bigger apartment in January so the little girl would have her own space. Ms. Gates Burgess loves and treats the little girl as her own daughter. Gates Burgess confirmed the little girl has never mentioned that Antonio Carter-Bibbs sexually assault her in any kind.
care. Burgess also went to CPS to discuss the kids. She prefers to have the kids under her roof than living with a stranger. The grandmother fought for having the kids to stay with her. She brought out the reasons why the kids should be with her. Ms. Gates Burgess also mentioned there are many people living in the grandmother’s home and the house is not very clean. The grandmother called Ms. Gates Burgess several times because she wanted to get food benefits for the kids. Ms. Gates Burgess finally got a chance to help her out in May.
The little girl told Ms. Gates Burgess she saw Antonio and Patricia yelling at each other, but the little girl never once mentioned anything bad about Antonio. Ms. Gates Burgess knows Patricia Kenard well and certainly confirmed that Patricia will never put her kids in danger, and she would definitely not protect Antonio if he really did something bad to her kids. Ms. Gates Burgess has never seen the little girl with any significant injury.
Ms. Gates Burgess described the little girl as a cheerful talkative kid, who sometimes makes up her own stories. She once came to Burgess crying and told her that sister (the little girl always called Ms. Gates Burgess’s daughter “sister”) hit her. Ms. Gates Burgess asked her kids to see what really happened. It turned out that the little girl confessed she made that story up because she wanted the toys.
Under cross-examination from DA Brooke Jenkins, Ms. Gates Burgess explained the benefit given by WIC would come in a voucher, not cash. Those vouchers would be used to purchase a certain kind of food at the grocery store.
Ms. Gates Burgess answered Deputy Public Defender Eric Quandt’s re-direct by saying she would take a precaution to never let her kids see her having sex with her husband.
Shaun Burgess also took the stand on Thursday. He testified in January 2019 that the Burgesses moved to a bigger apartment to accommodate the little girl more often. Ms. Burgess stated that one day when he and the little girl were sitting on a couch, the little girl told Mr. Burgess that one night while she was pretending to be asleep, she saw her dad putting his thing in her mom. Mr. Burgess immediately told the little girl not to tell this story to anyone else because it is inappropriate to share.
During DA Brooke Jenkins’ re-cross of Ms. Burgess, he mentioned the little girl did not use the word “Pooja” when she was telling a story. The little girl only told that story to Mr. Burgess once and she has never mentioned it again and she has also never accused anyone of touching her inappropriately. The Burgesses still hope that one day the little girl can come back to stay with them again.
Under re-direct examination by Mr. Quandt, Mr. Burgess said that when he has had some alone time with Ms. Gates Burgess, they would always close the door and lock it.