A Palmdale man accused of sexually abusing and killing his 17-month-old goddaughter three years ago proclaimed his innocence Wednesday in San Fernando Superior Court, and said another man was present in the house on the day the child was hospitalized.
Ricky Lee Earp, 29, taking the stand in his own defense, said Dennis Morgan, a man he met in prison in 1985, came to his home unexpectedly on Aug. 25, 1988, the day the child, Amanda Nicole Dorshier, was rushed to the hospital from Earp’s home with head injuries. The child died two days later and was found to have been sexually molested.
Earp, who became teary-eyed at times during his two days of testimony, said he never saw Morgan injure the child but testified that Morgan was alone in the house several times during his nearly two-hour visit.
Outside the courtroom, however, Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Foltz dismissed the idea of another person being responsible for the injuries to the child as the “some-other-dude-done-it” defense.
Foltz, who is expected to continue his cross-examination of Earp today, said Morgan’s name was only brought up by the defense about three weeks ago. “They are trying to blame everyone else but Ricky,” Foltz said.
During the two days of direct questioning, Earp said he was outside his home cleaning paintbrushes when he heard his dog making a commotion in the kitchen. When Earp went into the house, he said he saw Amanda lying on her side at the foot of the stairs. He said Morgan was standing near the front door.
When he could not revive the child, he called paramedics and Morgan left the house, Earp said. After paramedics took the child to the hospital, Earp also left. He said he was going to the hospital, but changed his plans after he saw a patrol car go to his house.
Earp said he feared that police would arrest him for violating parole in connection with a 1985 burglary conviction.
Earp turned himself in to authorities three days later in Sacramento, where he had fled to his mother’s house.
Louis H. Bernstein, one of Earp’s two attorneys, asked Earp on the witness stand if he had loved Amanda.
“Yes,” replied Earp, wiping a tear from his eye.
Bernstein later asked Earp if he blamed himself for Amanda’s death.
“Of course,” Earp said. “I was suppose to be watching her.”
According to court records, Amanda had been staying with Earp and his girlfriend, Virginia MacNair, at their Palmdale house for a few days before the incident. The injuries occurred after MacNair had left for work early.
Earp said he believes his dog had knocked the child down the stairs, causing the head injuries that killed her.
But a medical examiner testified earlier in the trial that the child died of massive head injuries not consistent with a fall, and that the bruises to the child’s genital area could only have resulted from a “purposeful act.”