Abuse reported before death, "torture" of Tramelle

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – New details emerged on Monday on the length of time 10 year-old Tramelle Sturgis was abused before his death last November. An ER doctor said Tramelle appeared to have been "tortured" and a school nurse said the boy told her his father hit him with a stick nearly two years before his death.

These were two of the six witnesses that testified in the Terry Sturgis murder trial on Monday.

Sturgis is facing 14 counts, including beating his son Tramelle to death.

In testimony on Monday, school officials from James Madison Primary Center said that a child abuse report was filled in February 2010. This was just about 21 months before Tramelle’s death.

Tramelle’s second grade teacher took the stand on Monday and said that Tramelle was an outgoing, loving, and caring kid.

"Tramelle was a student every teacher would want in their class," said the teacher.

She remembered February 10, 2010, when she reached out to touch Tramelle and he quickly backed away.

"I put my arm around him and he moved away from me," she said, so she had him go to the nurse.

The nurse testified, and said that she found a 2 or 3 inch bruise on his upper left arm that looked new.

"He told me that dad hit me with a stick," the nurse told the courtroom.

The nurse said she then took Tramelle to the school social worker.

The next day on February 11, 2010 school officials said Terry Sturgis stormed into the office demanding to see Tramelle’s teacher.

"I want to tell her that nobody messes with my family," said a school secretary.

A parent volunteer also testified that she heard a "loud ruckus" coming from the school office that day.

She recalled Sturgis saying that he didn’t appreciate the school sending someone to his house.

"What goes on there stays there," the volunteer remembered Sturgis stating.

The school officials said that they asked Sturgis to leave and eventually he did.

They said he soon returned to check out his kids early from school.

During this testimony was the first emotional reaction we’ve seen out of Terry Sturgis in the courtroom.

While the parent volunteer testified about the incident in the office, he appeared to be aggravated and shook his head 'no' multiple times.

At one point he put his head down in-between his folded hands.

The ER doctor who treated Tramelle the morning of his death was the first to testify on Monday.

He stated that it appeared to him that Tramelle had been "tortured".

The defense objected to his statement, and the judge sustained it from the record.

In total from Monday, the six who testified were the ER doctor, a DNA analyst, Tramelle’s second grade teacher, the school nurse, school secretary, and parent volunteer from James Madison Primary Center.

Testimony in this trial will continue on Tuesday.

The judge said the decision could be turned over to the jury by Wednesday.

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