A doctor who examined Lisa Steinberg in a hospital emergency room said he was shocked that Joel Steinberg, who raised the little girl, "seemed to smile" when told of the severity of her injuries.
"I said it looks like she will survive but she will have permanent neurological deficits," Dr. Patrick Kilhenny testified Monday at Steinberg's murder trial in state Supreme Court in Manhattan."He said, `Well what you're saying is she's not going to be an Olympic athlete, but she'll survive,"' Kilhenny recalled in testimony that stunned the jury in the disbarred lawyer's trial.
Steinberg is accused of beating to death 6-year-old Lisa, who he had raised with his common-law wife, Hedda Nussbaum.
Testimony was scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.
Lisa, who was found unconscious in the family's Greenwich Village apartment Nov. 2, 1987, never regained consciousness and died three days later at St. Vincent's Hospital.
Kilhenny, who examined the girl in the hospital emergency room before her death, said he was shocked by Steinberg's reaction to the girl's grave condition.
"What was his expression?" asked Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Peter Casolaro.
"He seemed to have a smile on his face at that point. It didn't seem appropriate," testified the neurologist, as Lisa's biological mother, Michelle Launders, 21, fought back tears from her seat in the courtroom.
Steinberg first met Launders when she was an unwed pregnant teenager and agreed to arrange an adoption. He kept the baby girl, however, and never formally adopted her.