(CBS/AP) DETROIT - Prosecutors told a jury in opening statements Wednesday that D'Andre Lane was so obsessed over toilet training his 2-year-old daughter that he fatally beat her for having an accident.
Lane is charged with child abuse and first-degree murder in the Dec. 2 disappearance of Bianca Jones. Originally, Lane told police the toddler was abducted during a carjacking, but when the car was found less than an hour later the girl wasn't it. Bianca's body was never found.
Lane, who has reportedly fathered seven children with seven women, is accused of beating Bianca to death with a stick with a towel wrapped in duct tape before disposing her body. Lane told officers during questioning that he spanked the child for wetting herself.
"He believed that if 2-year-olds had accidents they should be physically punished," Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb told jurors. "The defendant staged a carjacking to cover up the death of his baby."
Goldfarb said Lane put Bianca's body in the car the next day as he was taking an older daughter and a nephew to school.
Defense attorney Terry Johnson said prosecutors have no evidence against Lane and their "case is based on the argument that he spanked her."
Johnson told the jury there was no evidence of physical harm and that while Lane may have hit the girl with a stick, it had a protective cover to prevent harm. Johnson also said Lane was distraught at the disappearance of his daughter and cooperated with police.
"They want to paint him as the embodiment of evil," said Johnson.
Johnson added that prosecutors are asking them to take a "leap of faith" and convict Lane.
"I don't want you to take a leap of faith; I want you to walk through the evidence step by step," Johnson said.