AUSTIN, Texas — After powerful testimony from the man who found a newborn baby in a North Austin dumpster in 2017 and the first responders who helped, a detective with the Austin Police Department took the stand in the trial for the baby's mother, Althea Johnson.
Detective Lee Knouse was the lead detective for the case. He spoke with Johnson when he arrived on scene.
"She seemed guarded or cautious, maybe a little reluctant," Knouse said of Johnson's demeanor during the interview. "She talked about a broken beer bottle and maybe that being the explanation for the blood in front of the home."
Knouse said Johnson acted shocked that he would consider her apartment a crime scene.
The detective later got DNA samples from the baby, Johnson, Johnson's boyfriend and the rest of the people in the apartment.
Knouse later interviewed Johnson at his office on November 6, 2017, days after the baby was found.
The video of the interview was played for the jury on Wednesday.
In the video, Johnson told Knouse that she was in a lot of pain the night before.
"I went to the bathroom because I was trying to figure out what was wrong," Johnson said in the video.
She said that's where she gave birth.
"I put on some clothes, and I wrapped her up. I went outside. I was just walking, trying to figure out what to do," Johnson said in the video. "I don't really know what I was kind of thinking at the time though."
Johnson kept her head down in the courtroom while the video played for the jury.
In the video, she initially told Knouse she put the baby in some bushes. She later admitted to putting her in the dumpster.
In the video, Johnson said she wrapped the baby in a black dress. She recalled the baby's eyes and mouth being open but said the baby didn't make any noise.
The defense questioned Xavier Swanson's, Johnson's boyfriend at the time, whereabouts. Knouse said he had no credible evidence Swanson was involved.
The defense also argued Johnson didn't know she was pregnant, and there is no physical proof that Johnson put the baby in the dumpster.
The defense also pointed out that Johnson continually denied knowing she was pregnant in the interview.
Johnson's mother, Lenthoria Ousley, took the stand around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Ousley smiled at her daughter in the courtroom as she talked about her grandchildren.
Ousley said Johnson told her she wasn't pregnant, and the baby was not her child. Ousley testified that she "kind-of fabricated a situation to force her hand," saying she told Johnson she had test results that showed otherwise. She testified that, at that point, she had not seen test results.
The state rested their case Wednesday evening.
On the first day of Johnson's trial, a man recalled finding the newborn in the dumpster. Dwayne Bouie said he heard a whine and "thought it was a doll" before realizing it was a human.
During opening statements of the trial, a prosecutor said Johnson hid her pregnancy and gave birth in an apartment restroom. The defense claimed that she didn't know she was pregnant and that she could not "recall the events of the birth itself."
A paramedic who responded to the scene said the baby was "dusky blue" in color at the time. A lieutenant with the Austin Fire Department started crying mid-testimony, saying that day they found the baby "was a difficult day. One of the worst I've had in the fire department."
Johnson is facing a charge of abandoning a child, according to online records. Her bond is set at $60,000. If found guilty, Johnson faces up to 20 years in prison.
Molly Oak is reporting from the courtroom. Follow her on Twitter for live updates.
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