UPDATE: Mistrial in Microwave Death

12 02 2008


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Only one month old, Paris Talley died of “high-heat internal injuries,” seemingly due to being microwaved, according to CNN. Her mother, China Arnold is about to begin trial in Ohio for the baby’s death and faces the death penalty. Arriving home after a heavy night of drinking in 2005, Arnold claims to have given the baby a bottle and then fallen asleep. When waking the next morning, she found the baby unconscious. Arnold argues knowing nothing about the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death, including the burns.

Police Detective Michael Galbraith recalls her saying, “If I hadn’t gotten so drunk, I guess my baby wouldn’t have died.” While that is probably a fair assessment on her part, does her intoxication therefore provide a platform for her to escape legal punishment? With “40 percent of a pint of high-proof rum” in her system, can Arnold be in charge of being fully cognizant of her actions? Maybe not, but is it equally unfair for her to be let off the hook for her irresponsibility?

If she had double-parked or committed any similarly small offense as a result of her skewed judgment, she would have been held accountable. It was a personal choice for this woman – as it is for most people who do so – to abuse alcohol. Unlike unmanageable mental disorders, which allow accused criminals to plead insanity, consuming alcohol – except in distinct case of the disease alcoholism – is self-inflicted and completely controllable.

But if the woman was to ever plead guilty to putting her child into the microwave, an insanity plea may not be far off. In actuality, there is no difference between the sadism required to put an infant into the dumpster or the microwave. But because one of those things is so unheard of, we are quick to typify it as being a concern of insanity as opposed to sheer neglect or irresponsibility.

To do something so vile to a helpless child shows no value for human life. There is no justification for it. Certainly, being drunk causes rationalization to float out the window. But in such circumstances, it is hard to see that as an explanation. Extreme cases like Arnold’s may make some New Jersey citizens regret having given up the option to invoke capital punishment.

Judge Rules Mistrial In China Arnold Case
whiotv: LINK

DAYTON, Ohio — A judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case of a woman accused of killing her month-old baby by burning her in a microwave, finding that new defense witnesses bolster her innocence claim.

Judge John Kessler made the decision after hearing testimony privately from a juvenile who said he was at the apartment complex of defendant China Arnold on the August 2005 night that her infant died.

The judge did not give details about juvenile’s testimony.

The ruling comes after hours of closed door discussions between prosecutors, China Arnold’s attorney and the judge.

Closing arguments were supposed to begin Monday morning but were delayed for undisclosed reasons. The jury was asked not to report for duty.

China Arnold is the Dayton woman accused of burning her month-old baby to death in a microwave oven.

A 12-member jury has heard six days of testimony and a parade of witnesses in China Arnold’s trial. Arnold herself did not testify.

The 27-year-old was charged with aggravated murder in the August 2005 death of Paris Talley. Arnold has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Severe Weather Alert: Winter Storm Approaching

Testimony Ends In China Arnold Murder Trial

After a long day of hearing testimony Friday, the defense has rested its case in the China Arnold muder trial in Dayton.

Earlier in the day the trial was put on hold Thursday morning after the judge asked the jury to take a break after only hearing from a few witnesses.

The judge said transportation issues stopped the next witnesses from getting to the courthouse.

The witnesses later arrived late Thursday afternoon from the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. The inmates testified they had once been incarcerated in the Montgomery County Jail with Arnold.

Both women contradicted earlier statements from another inmate witness for the prosecution who said Arnold had told her, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do it,” when talking about the microwave death of her daughter, Paris Talley.

The defense witnesses said Arnold never talked to anyone about her pending murder case.

After the defense rested, the prosecution had a chance to call several rebuttal witnesses. The prosecution rested their case at approximately 5pm Thursday.

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