WARREN - Repeatedly insisting that she didn't kill her 15-month-old daughter, Joy Hodge did admit to striking the toddler more than once on the leg and on her mouth.
Hodge told William Evans, a private investigator and polygraph expert from Akron, that her youngest daughter upset her by biting her near the collarbone, and another time she got into the cleaner or detergent kept under the kitchen sink.
Evans took the stand Wednesday while prosecutors played audio recordings of Hodge from Sept. 15, 2011.
Joy Hodge, left, listens to her attorney, public defender Matthew Pentz, this week during her trial in the death of her 15-month-old daughter. Hodge maintains her innocence.
Tribune Chronicle photos / R. Michael Semple
''I popped her one on the leg,'' Hodge says on the recording, as well as admitting to the punishment on the mouth.
But at the same time, Hodge continued telling Evans it had to be someone else who actually killed young A'nana Brantley, who was found dead in her second-floor crib on Transylvania Street S.E. on Sept. 6, 2011.
At one point Hodge, 29, even tried to convince Evans that someone with a key to her home most likely entered the house and stole banana pudding she had made for a Labor Day party and then killed the child.
Warren police Detective Wayne Mackey will testify about interviews with Joy Hodge.
Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk is scheduled to testify.
Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk ruled homicide after discovering multiple blunt force traumatic injuries on the head, face and neck along with a lacerated liver. He is scheduled to testify later and give his estimate of the time of death. The child was found bruised and stiff inside the crib.
Hodge has remained in Trumbull County Jail since her arrest and faces more than 15 years if convicted on charges of murder and child endangering.
Evans was working with Warren police detectives in questioning Hodge as a suspect nine days after the death. And at the end of an interview that lasted more than an hour, Evans told the woman that police would be arresting her.
Hodge cried and wailed, ''I don't want to go to jail. I didn't do it. No. No.''
''Why am I going to jail for something I didn't do?'' Hodge cried out as Warren Detective Wayne Mackey read her her Miranda rights.
Mackey will continue his testimony today and explain to a jury of nine men and three woman about other interviews he did, weeding out would-be suspects that Hodge initially said could have killed her child.
''I think this might have been something that got out of control,'' Evans told Hodge on an audio tape that was played for the jury in the courtroom of Judge W. Wyatt McKay.
''What caused you to lose it? Was it the Long Island iced tea? What triggered it?'' Evans asked on the recording, referring to Labor Day evening when Hodge apparently left the baby alone to go with friends and sing karaoke at a local bar.
''If I'm guilty of anything, it's going out,'' Hodge cried at one point on the recording.
''There is a difference between accidental and intentional. I don't think you meant to kill anyone. I think you convinced yourself you didn't do it,'' Evans told Hodge.
Testimony is scheduled to continue today.