Crime & Courts

Man on trial this week in death of girlfriend’s toddler

Michael C. Ross, 22, is charged with abusing and killing his girlfriend’s 17-month-old daughter. Grace Harris died on Nov. 14, 2015.
Michael C. Ross, 22, is charged with abusing and killing his girlfriend’s 17-month-old daughter. Grace Harris died on Nov. 14, 2015. Courtesy photo

A 22-year-old Wichita man accused of inflicting fatal injuries on his girlfriend’s toddler in 2015 is being tried this week before a Sedgwick County jury.

According to testimony at his preliminary hearing last year, Michael C. Ross hurt 17-month-old Grace Harris on Nov. 9, 2015, after engaging in a nightlong drug binge, because he didn’t like her biological father and was upset that he and the father had been arguing.

He grabbed her arm, yanked her off of a kitchen countertop, knocked her over as she played in the bathroom and purposely tipped a television over onto the girl while he was baby-sitting her and her 4-year-old sister while their mother worked, Ross’ former cellmate testified in July.

Grace died five days later while hospitalized. Her injuries included brain bleeding and swelling, a liver laceration and bruising.

Ross, who lived with the girls and their mother in the 5100 block of South Meridian, said Grace fell and hurt herself. He is facing counts of first-degree murder and child abuse and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Attorneys seated a jury Tuesday morning, said Dan Dillon, spokesman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office. Opening statements were Tuesday afternoon, and testimony started afterward. The trial continues this week.

Sedgwick County District Judge Jeffrey Syrios is presiding.

Ross remained in Sedgwick County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $500,000 bond.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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