Father's accounts of death reviewed
■ In 2 year old son Diondre's death last year
Larry Osborn Nix was perfectly cooperative with police who were investigating the death of his 2-year-old son, Diondre, last year. So when he changed his story about his own role in the death, they believed him.
On Tuesday, the second day of Nix's trial on a second-degree murder charge, Pontiac Detective Santiago Sernplayed back a tape recording of his interview with Nix on March 28, 1992, the day Diondrea
died from a severe blow to his chest. Nix, 29, calmly answered questions, all the while insisting he stepped on Diondre by accident as he went to fix his TV in his apartment on West Huron Street.
"I said, `Diondre, Diondre,' but he wasn't responding," Nix told the detective. Nix, who told Serna he weighs 175 pounds, said he picked up the child after stepping on him, ran outside with him to find his girl-friend and then rushed back into his apartment to call 9-1-1. Diondre's nose was bleeding, he told Serna, so he held him facing down to prevent the boy from choking on his blood.
Nix said he did not administer CPR because he was not sure Diondre was breathing.
Diondre, one of Nix's five children, died at North Oakland Medical Center. Oakland County Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic, M.D., testified that the child died of a single blunt force trauma to the chest.
A month later, during an interview with a Michigan State Police officer, Nix said he intentionally stepped on Diondre but did not mean to hurt him. Serna interviewed Nix for a second time on the same day and elicited the same information, he testified.
Nix's attorney, James L. Galen Jr., suggested during his questioning of Serna that Serna and the Michigan State Police officer had asked Nix a tricky question to get the information they wanted. Serna replied that there was no reason for him to trick Nix, be-cause Nix had been cooperative all the way through the investigation.
Nix, who is free after posting a $25,000 bond, said after Tuesday's trial that he has never abused his children. In his autopsy report, Dragovic makes no mention of evidence of child abuse.
Nix, an employee of the L&L Food Center in Rochester, also said he was once married to Teressa Nix, who was convicted last year of abetting the murder of Pamela Bandy, a Waterford Township woman who died in a car trunk after she was abducted from a Pontiac car wash in 1989.
Nix's trial resumes Thursday before Oakland Circuit Judge Deborah G. Tyner.
Galen said he plans to put Nix on the witness stand, along with family members who will testify that Nix is a good father.
Despite nine days of deliberation, an Oakland County jury could not reach a verdict in the second-degree murder trial of Larry Osborn Nix.
The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office will try again to convict Nix, a 29-year-old Pontiac man, of the charge that stems from the March 28, 1992, death of Nix's 2-year-old son, Diondre. Nix said he accidentally stepped on the boy when he got up from the couch to work on a malfunctioning television.
Jurors sent out two notes during their days of deliberations saying they were hopelessly deadlocked, but Circuit Judge Deborah Tyner did not declare a hung jury until Friday morning.
Assistant Prosecutor Ron Covault said the notes from the jurors indicated they were divided on the degree of the charge. They were considering second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Defense attorney James L. Galen Jr. could not be reached for comment. No new trial date has been set for Nix.
-- Staff writer Kathleen Gray
The Oakland Press
An Oakland County jury began deliberating the second-degree murder charges against Larry Osborn Nix, a 29-year-old Pontiac resident accused of killing his 2- year-old son Diondre by stepping on him on March 28, 1992.
Deliberations began Tuesday afternoon following closing arguments from prosecuting attorney Randy Secontine and defense attorney James Galen Jr.