Mitchell Goss's mother was told at least twice by Zachary Atwood, who was her husband at the time, there was no reason to take the baby to the hospital or contact authorities when she believed something was wrong with the infant.
The fist time Michelle "Sunnie" Thomas, who was Sunnie Atwood at the time, noticed bruises on her son and could tell his cry was growing faint, she asked Zachary if they could take Mitchell to the doctor.
"I said he was fussy and needed to go to the doctor," Thomas said Tuesday morning as she wiped tears from her eyes. "Zachary told me that little boys get bruises and there was nothing to worry about."
Thomas also testified she did not have a vehicle, her own money or a cell phone, because Zachary "wouldn't allow it."
Several times Zachary beat and abused her, and she had also witnessed him hurt his mother who lived in the small-town, two-bedroom apartment with them, Thomas testified. She said she wanted her family to be together again, and that's why she reunited with Zachary, despite the two having been separated for more than a year.
The relationship between Mitchell's biological father didn't work out and she believed Zachary had "mellowed out" and was a changed man. The two first became a couple when she was 17 years old and Zachary was 22 years old. The two reunited and moved back in together "around May 1" and baby Mitchell was pronounced dead on May 31, 2016.
Immediately, she was traumatized when she held her lifeless 3-month-old child, feeling guilty she'd been using drugs, she fled for help. She had to flee to the neighbor's house to call for help, because Zachary wouldn't let her use his phone, she said.
A statement Zachary made outside her aunt's house before then-Guy Police Chief Bobby Lockard took the Atwoods in to the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division for questioning and to learn the preliminary autopsy results on June 2, 2016, struck her as odd, she testified. Lockard drove the two to Conway for questioning because neither had a vehicle. The statement she found odd was: "Why is he [the baby's biological father] trying to frame me for murder?"
The next time she would see Zachary he would be in handcuffs after being detained in the Faulkner County Detention Center and had just admitted guilt in a second interview with authorities the following morning.
Thomas cried hysterically from the front row in the courtroom as a video of Zachary's interrogation showed her pleading with the defendant about why he didn't tell anyone about the baby's injuries sooner — he had just confessed to sitting on the small child.
"We could have got him help," she said with both anger and sorrow in her voice.
In the video, Thomas also was seen informing Zachary that his mother, Vicky Archer, who found the unresponsive baby facedown in his portable crib, was traumatized after giving the boy CPR until first responders arrived on scene.
Not caring about Zachary being scared about what legally would happen to him, Thomas soon divorced Zachary. The two were legally divorced in October 2016.
"You killed my son ... after everything I did for you, what do I get? A dead baby," Thomas said to Zachary as she walked out of the interrogation room, leaving him sitting in shackles, crying and begging authorities to let him once again try to explain himself to his then-wife.