Jurors found China Arnold, 31, guilty of aggravated murder for ‘cooking’ her baby daughter in a microwave oven, in her third trial.
China Arnold could face the death penalty for her grisly crime.
Little 28-day-old Paris Talley died the grisly death in August 2005 in Ohio. Arnold could receive the death penalty. Sentencing will begin Monday in Dayton, Ohio court. Prosecutors said Arnold placed baby Paris in the microwave after arguing with her live-in boyfriend, Terrell Talley, over her paternity. She reportedly told investigators that she was intoxicated.
Arnold’s first trial ended in a mistrial. She was found guilty in the second trial, in 2008, but that conviction was reversed last fall. Arnold had been sentenced to life in prison without parole. The death penalty had been taken off the table at that time after the jury deadlocked over sentencing.
But the 2nd District Ohio Court of Appeals in Dayton ruled that Arnold should be freed. The appeals court said there was misconduct by prosecutors and that the trial court made an error by not allowing a material witness to testify in Arnold’s defense. The defense had argued that someone else was responsible.
Assistant Prosecutor Dan Brandt told jurors that Arnold’s actions were ‘even more purposeful’ than a slaying with a gun or knife, the Dayton Daily News reported. During closing arguments, Mr Brandt told jurors: ‘Baby Paris is without life, but she’s not without a voice. Please listen to her’. Mr Brandt claimed that Arnold had to carry the baby over, place her in the microwave, shut the door and press buttons. Then she waited while her child cooked to death, Brandt claimed. Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion argued that the evidence pointed as much to Mr Talley as it did his client. Mr Rion told jurors: ‘This doesn’t make sense to you. It doesn’t. I’ve been watching your faces’.
The prosecutor cut and fit evidence to show ‘this loving mother somehow was so evil that she killed her baby in this way’, he said. Mr Rion has said he ‘realized from the first day’ that Arnold was innocent. Prosecutors said Arnold had a criminal past and was convicted of abduction in 2000 and forgery in 2002. Arnold reportedly took Paris to the hospital the following day but she succumbed to her injuries. Arnold was initially arrested but then released due to lack of evidence. She was re-arrested in November 2006.