Jury Hears From Mills Man Charged With Attempted Murder Of 12-Year-Old
A Natrona County jury on Thursday morning heard testimony from a Mills man accused of attempting to murder a 12-year-old.
Ryan Lewis Hilyard is charged with attempted second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child abuse. If convicted, Hilyard could face decades behind bars.
His wife, Sarah Hilyard, has pleaded no contest to attempted second-degree murder and child abuse, according to court filings.
On Thursday morning, Hilyard gave testimony in which he seemingly attempted to place the blame for the then 12-year-old's injuries on Sarah Hilyard's shoulders.
"It makes me sick to my stomach. That's my firstborn. That's my baby. I can't believe anything like this could have happened," Ryan Hilyard said from the witness stand. "I can't believe Sarah is capable of this."
Charging documents filed in the case state the 12-year-old needed to be intubated and had to have part of his skull removed as a result of injuries the Hilyard's allegedly inflicted on him.
During Ryan Hilyard's testimony, he stated that he did not see pictures of the child's injuries until he got closer to going to trial. Hilyard said that was because he couldn't stand to see them.
According to an affidavit, Sarah Hilyard told investigators that the child fell down the stairs a day or two before the hospital visit but she did not know what caused the injuries. She also explained to investigators that the child was "a little more tired than usual" but chalked it up to puberty.
The affidavit alleges that the child had gotten into fights with his brother and step-brother who are 9- and 10-years-old, respectively.
Court documents state that Ryan Hilyard too told police that the 12-year-old fell down the stairs. Hilyard also allegedly told police that he didn't see what happened but was just taking his "best guess."
For his part during Thursday's testimony, Ryan Hilyard said at roughly 10 p.m. on August 2, 2020, he was watching TV when he heard a thumping noise coming from the downstairs area of his house. When he went ti investigate, he saw the 12-year-old lying at the bottom of the stairs.
Ryan Hilyard said that he checked the child for injuries and he seemed to be all right, just somewhat embarrassed.
It wasn't until August 6 that, while at work, Ryan Hilyard said he received a phone call from Sarah Hilyard stating that the child was unresponsive and she was taking him to the emergency room. Ryan Hilyard said he immediately headed home to stay with their other children.
One of the siblings in the case told police that Ryan Hilyard told them people were going to come over and ask them questions and to simply say the victim fell down a flight of stairs, according to court documents. The sibling added that they were afraid to tell the truth because Ryan Hilyard picks them up by their throats on numerous occasions. In one case, the child said Ryan Hilyard pushed his head into a stuffed animal for two minutes, making it hard to breathe.
During the trial on Tuesday, jurors heard an audio recording of one of the child's siblings, a Department of Family Services Investigator and a Mills Police detective.
In the audio, the sibling states that Ryan Hilyard told them that the police would be coming and to tell police the child simply fell down a flight of stairs.
But on Thursday, Hilyard testified that he told the child's siblings that police would likely show up due to a child being badly injured. He testified that he only told his children to tell police what they know and that it's OK to say they don't know.
On Thursday afternoon, Natrona County prosecutors will cross-examine Ryan Hilyard.