Jean Peters Baker’s voice quivered with emotion at times on Wednesday.
The Jackson County Prosecutor personally appeared in court during the trial of a man accused of killing his own daughter, a Southwest High School honors student, in 2016.
Police said the 18-year-old honor student was suffocated.
Her body was found March 21, 2016 in a room at the 4 Acre Motel at 8220 Hickman Mills Drive. Not knowing her daughter’s body had been found, Daizsa Bausby’s mother filed a missing persons report the next day.
During the opening arguments at trial Wednesday, Baker told jurors that the evidence surrounding Daisza Bausby’s murder was “gut wrenching” and “graphic,” but it created a road map that implicated Jerry Bausby.
Investigators said Jerry Bausby picked up the teen from their home and took her to the motel, where he sexually assaulted and killed her.
A motel worker found Daizsa Bausby lying on the bed. The teen was partially undressed in her Foot Locker uniform. Daizsa Bausby’s hair was stuck into her shirt, her underwear was tangled and it appeared that someone had tried to dress her, Baker said.
Baker said Daizsa Bausby had significant bruises on her body, including her forehead. Blood had pooled in her eyes, which was evidence of suffocation. The killer pressed his fingers against Daisza Bausby’s nose, mouth and lips, leaving additional bruises, police said.
Overcome with emotion, Daizsa Bausby’s mother bolted out of the courtroom as Baker further laid out evidence prosecutors planned to present during the trial. Other family members remained the courtroom and used tissue to dab tears from their eyes.
Jerry Bausby looked forward at Circuit Court Judge George E. Wolf and displayed no emotion. The trial is expected to go on until Friday.
DNA evidence linked Jerry Bausby to the death, Baker told jurors. Samples found on him matched his daughter’s DNA and the odds that the DNA was not hers were 1 in 30 quintillion, she said.
Baker described Daizsa Bausby as an exceptional high school student, near the top of her senior class at Southwest High. She was looking forward to leaving home and attending college, Baker said.
Daizsa Bausby attended classes at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley and had earned enough credit hours to receive an associate’s degree. She ran cross country, was a cheerleader and worked at a Foot Locker store on the Country Club Plaza.
A cheerleading coach said of Daizsa Bausby: “She was the rose that grew from the concrete.”
Baker described the ordinary details of Daizsa Bausby’s life: The teen was close to her 16-year-old sister, with whom she argued over trivial things such as the temperature of the bedroom they shared in their house on Woodland Avenue.
Baker said Jerry Bausby rented a room at the 4 Acre Motel the night of the killing. Surveillance video showed Jerry Bausby leave and return later. He left a second time but did not return. His car was parked in front of the motel room when the teen’s body was found, Baker said.
Police later arrested Jerry Bausby, wearing the same clothes he had on in the surveillance video the morning his daughter’s body was found. However, her killing remained unsolved for months. Classmates held candlelight vigils in an effort to keep attention on the case.
Defense attorney Gara Feldman-Gary said Daisza voluntarily left with her father and the high school student drove both of them to the motel. Daisza remained at the motel for several hours and there was no physical evidence of non-consensual or forceful sex, Feldman-Gary said.
”It is a tragedy that this young woman died but Mr. Bausby did not kill her,” she told jurors. “There is no proof that he actually did this.”