An Arizona couple is facing criminal charges after an investigation revealed that they may have been to blame for the death of a 4-year-old child. The couple - the child's mother and her boyfriend - initially told officers that the girl had suffered serious injuries when she fell at a pool at a residential apartment complex. Physicians determined, however, that the girl may have been the victim of a violent crime.
Now, the adults are facing murder charges, and their trial opened on July 7. The victim reportedly died in May 2011. The mother's boyfriend told investigators that the child had fallen while trying to enter a pool at an apartment complex. He had taken the girl and her three siblings to the pool at La Mesa Village apartments on the day of the victim's death.
However, prosecutors say that surveillance footage proves that the pool was actually closed for maintenance on the day of the girl’s death. That fact, among others, led to the couple being implicated in the death of the child. The victim reportedly suffered broken ribs, bruises, skull fractures and a lacerated liver because of the alleged violent crimes. Further, one of the girl’s siblings told investigators that she saw the man strike the girl, step on her and slam her into a wall during an altercation.
Although these violent crime allegations are disturbing, the defendants are not automatically considered guilty simply because they were charged. These defendants also chose to pursue a criminal trial instead of entering a guilty plea. Although this course of action is appropriate in some criminal cases, it is important to take the time to weigh options before deciding to take a case to trial in front of a jury.
Source: The Arizona Republic, "Mesa man accused in deadly child beating stands trial", Catherine Calderon, July 8, 2014