Father Of Toddler Abused, Killed In Edmond Speaks Out

Thursday, January 31st 2013, 7:19 pm
By: News 9

An Oklahoma City man is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.

Rico Berry is accused of shaking and slamming the boy down while he was babysitting him; all of this while the baby's mother was at school.

That father was in the courtroom for the first day of testimony and plans to be here when Berry takes the stand in his defense.

1/30/2013 Related Story: Mother Of Toddler Abused, Killed In Edmond Testifies In Court

"Very hard, very hard. I mean, it took a piece of me just to sit there knowing I am in the same room with the man that took my son from me," said John Sloan.

Sloan is still in mourning. He says he couldn't believe it when he heard his 2-year-old son Jolen had been taken to the hospital. He says he had just spent time with him days before. That was in October 2009.

"You know we had a good time together. It was just the usual father-son day," Sloan said.

But he says something in his heart told him something wasn't right. And then when he saw his son lying in the hospital bed, it hit him.

"All I could do was look at my son and just ask God to keep him and hold. I know he was with him," said Sloan.

10/14/2009 Related Story: Edmond Man Suspected of Killing Girlfriend's Toddler

Now, more than three years later, Berry is on trial for Jolen's death. So far the jury has heard from the baby's mother and a string of doctors and investigators, about how little Jolen was found beaten, bruised and not breathing when he was taken to the hospital, and how they found blood on the walls.

Jolen is buried at Sunnylane Cemetery, and while his family is having to relive his death with this trial, their heart weighs even heavier this week. That's because Jolen would have turned six this Saturday.

"You know this world is real evil and I knew then that he was too precious for this world, too precious, so the Lord took him," Sloan said.

Berry is expected to take the stand either Friday or Monday. He is charged one count of murder, as well as one count of child neglect. Prosecutors are recommending life in prison without parole.