BLOOMINGTON — The mother of 3-year-old Robbie Cramer admitted to a jury Thursday that she noticed injuries on her son and accused her boyfriend of causing them two weeks before the child's death.
Danielle Fischer, 24, of Bloomington, was given immunity from the state Thursday for her testimony in the murder trial of her boyfriend, Nicholas Compton.
Fischer, 24, initially asserted her constitutional right against self-incrimination but was ordered by Judge Charles Feeney to testify after the state's offer of immunity that will keep her court statements from being used against her. She also is charged with murder and child endangerment in the boy's death.
Assistant State's Attorney Adam Ghrist took Fischer through a timeline that started March 15, 2013 — 11 days before the boy died of peritonitis allegedly caused by an injury.
Fischer was asked to explain text messages she exchanged with her boyfriend, including explanations from Compton about cuts and bruises the boy suffered while in his care.
In a March 17, 2013, note, Compton added "LOL," a text acronym for "laugh out loud," to his note advising Fischer the child had picked up a razor and scraped it across his face, causing an abrasion.
According to documents shared with the jury, Fischer responded: "It's not OK. My kid has cuts and bruises all over him every day. I'm sick of it. He's not being watched close enough and I'm tired of it."
Other members of the child's family questioned the marks that seemed to start appearing after Fischer and the child began staying with Compton in the basement of a house in Normal in March 2013.
The child's paternal grandparents also asked about the injuries, said Fischer. At one point, she expressed fears that the relatives "would try to take Robbie," according to her testimony.
Fischer and Compton also agreed to keep the child from the grandparents until his face healed, according to the texts.
Missing from Compton's text notifications was an alleged fall in the bathtub on March 15, 2013. The child developed stomach problems after that date that were treated with over-the-counter medications, said the mother.
The last effort to control vomiting came at 8 p.m. on March 25, 2013 — just eight hours before the child was rushed to the hospital after suffering a seizure in bed next to his mother.
The jury was shown a video of Compton and Fischer with the child at Walmart in Normal, buying anti-nausea medication. The child's deteriorating condition was evident in the image of the toddler slumped over the handle of the shopping cart.
Before they moved in with Compton, the boy was "happy, just your typical 2-year-old," said Fischer.
In less than a month of living in Normal with Compton, the child suffered burns to his hand and multiple bruises and abrasions. The injuries were noted by police and medical staff at the hospital.
The trial continues Friday with testimony from forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Denton.