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Tuesday, March 26, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Mother of 2-year-old beaten to death testifies she doesn’t remember initial statements to police

UPDATED: Wed., June 14, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

Jason Obermiller takes a break during his homicide trial on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at the Spokane County Courthouse. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Jason Obermiller takes a break during his homicide trial on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at the Spokane County Courthouse. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The mother of a 2-year-old who was found beaten to death in a Moran Prairie home last September said Tuesday she couldn’t remember her initial statements to police following four days of drug use and no sleep.

“I’m sorry. I don’t remember much from that day,” said Lovina Rainey, testifying Tuesday morning for a second day in the murder trial of her former boyfriend, Jason Obermiller, who is accused of killing Rainey’s daughter Adalynn Hoyt.

Obermiller’s attorney, Kevin Griffin, asked a tearful Rainey about contradictions in her statements to Spokane police the afternoon of Sept. 12 and her testimony Monday, when she talked about Obermiller’s relationship with her daughter and the botched drug dealing that set the broken household on edge in the days leading to Adalynn’s death.

Griffin pointed to multiple statements Rainey, 28, made to police that she left the home she shared with Obermiller shortly before 10 p.m. the night before her daughter was found dead, when text messages indicated it was closer to 2 a.m. Rainey also initially told police she’d checked on Adalynn when she returned home after smoking meth at a Spokane Valley motel with drug dealers, but she testified Tuesday she hadn’t.

“Do you remember telling him, when you got home, you saw Adalynn half on, half off the bed?” Griffin asked.

“No,” Rainey replied, stating she didn’t remember much of what she told Spokane County sheriff’s Detective Mike Drapeau.

“Did that happen?” Griffin continued.

“No, it didn’t,” Rainey said. She later told prosecutors her initial statements to investigators were made to police without the use of her phone or social media to assist her memory, which Rainey said was shaken by drug use and the stress of having to deal 6 ounces of meth she’d received in the Tri-Cities days before her daughter’s death.

Griffin attempted to show Obermiller was trying to assist Rainey in getting rid of the drugs, which were stolen, and that he warned his ex-girlfriend multiple times not to get involved in the drug trade.

“Isn’t it true that Jason kept telling you, you didn’t know what you were getting into?” Griffin asked.

“He warned me, yes,” Rainey said.

Rainey took two trips to the Tri-Cities that week, returning to Spokane with drugs each time. She’s been named, along with Obermiller, in a federal indictment alleging multiple counts of conspiring to distribute drugs. Rainey is currently in custody of the Spokane County Jail ahead of a sentencing hearing scheduled for September after pleading guilty to one of the charges, but testified in street clothes Tuesday, with her gaze level on the attorneys asking questions.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Gayle Ervin pointed the jury to a text sent shortly after Rainey’s first trip in which Obermiller offered to trade guns for the stolen drugs. Griffin argued that text was sent as a way to cover the debt that he’d taken on for Rainey.

Griffin also asked Rainey if she’d seen her daughter take any bites of pizza the night before she was found dead. Obermiller’s attorneys argue Adalynn Hoyt was killed sometime after midnight, after Obermiller left the home, and have seized on testimony from Spokane County Medical Examiner John Howard that pizza was found in the child’s mouth, but not her stomach. The defense team argues that’s evidence the child had to have eaten at least six hours before she was found dead.

But Rainey said she didn’t see her daughter eat before leaving the house that night.

“I gave her the food. I was assuming she was eating it, yes,” Rainey said.

Rainey said she didn’t attempt CPR on her daughter or try to pick her up when paramedics arrived around 1 p.m. after her night out. She also didn’t ask how her daughter died.

“They said it didn’t look like natural causes, or anything,” Rainey said.

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