Epping babysitter on trial in abuse case that left young boy blind in one eyeBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
March 19. 2018 9:55PM
BRENTWOOD — An Epping babysitter accused of abusing a homeless mother’s twin boys — leaving one child blind in one eye — isn’t responsible for the injuries, her defense lawyers told jurors at the start of her trial Monday.
“Jami Castine did not hurt, did not injure these twins. She loved these twins. She took care of them. Jami Castine is not guilty,” public defender Eliana Forciniti insisted during opening statements in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Castine, 28, is charged with three counts of first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault in a case of alleged abuse in 2016 when she was watching the twins, who were then 18 months old.
She has denied causing the injuries and has blamed them on the twins’ 3-year-old brother.
Castine is accused of repeatedly striking Lindsay Dubon-Romero’s son, JoJo, in the head in April 2016, causing brain bleeds, retinal hemorrhaging and detached retinas.
Assistant County Attorney Ryan Ollis said the boy is now blind in one eye.
Castine also allegedly struck JoJo’s twin brother, Isaiah, causing multiple bruises.
Forciniti said Castine was caring for the kids to help 25-year-old Dubon-Romero, who had become a homeless single mother of four who ended up in a shelter after her husband was deported.
“Jami didn’t hate those kids. She took those kids in out of the goodness of her heart to help someone out,” Forciniti said, adding that she didn’t ask for money from their mother and collected donations to help buy things they needed.
Dubon-Romero took the stand Monday afternoon and testified about how she bounced from one place to another to live with the kids before meeting Castine.
Ollis said there is evidence that Castine was hoping to get money from the state to care for the children.
“It doesn’t matter why she offered to help. What matters is what she did once those children were in her care,” he told jurors, adding that the children weren’t hurt by their mother and that they were “injury-free” when they were first sent to Castine’s home.
Ollis also alleged that Castine called the children names and used racial slurs, saying they were “nasty” and “f-----g retarded.”
He said one witness will testify that Castine once made the comment, “Sometimes you have to smack sense into these children.”
He also alleges that she was seen kicking a child onto his knees.
Testimony is expected to continue today.