Former soldier, mother on trial in toddler death

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A trial has begun for the mother and stepfather of a toddler who prosecutors say was beaten to death.

The Leaf-Chronicle ( reports jurors in Clarksville, Tennessee, began hearing testimony on Tuesday in the 2009 death of 23-month-old Keegan Metz.

The child’s stepfather, 26-year-old Joshua Starner, and mother, 27-year-old Caitlyn Metz, are charged with murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated child rape. Starner is a former Fort Campbell soldier.

Prosecutor Robert Nash said in his opening statement that the couple’s explanation of the horrific injuries the boy suffered didn’t add up. He said the only explanation is abuse.

The attorney for Metz blamed Starner for the boy’s death, while Starner’s attorney blamed Metz.

Testimony in the case was to continue on Wednesday.