An emergency room doctor said that it was the worst case of child abuse he’d ever seen. The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy said the girl only weighed seven pounds when she died which is two pounds less than she weighed when she was born. Additionally, Tayla had the flu, pneumonia, and countless other health issues when she found her way into the hospital. The medical examiner ruled that her death was a homicide. Now, prosecutors want the death penalty against her parents, Kristen Meyer and Alex Aleman.
Two grand juries have indicted both mother and father on first-degree murder charges for the death of their daughter. But they insist that they fed Tayla and her attorney says that a first-degree murder charge is inappropriate for the situation. They will be pushing the judge to reduce the charges to aggravated manslaughter which would effectively take capital punishment off the table.
Defending the Indefensible
Anyone with a basic conscience recognizes that this is one of the most horrific stories ever reported in the news. But is there any evidence that the parents actually withheld sustenance from their daughter? Further, the prosecution must show that there is some aggravating factor in order to go after the death penalty and they have yet to show that either mother or father had anything to gain by the child’s death or even any intention to harm her.
Her attorney further claims that the death was a result of neglect and there is now a legal question as to whether a death caused by neglect is commensurate with a charge of murder.
The prosecution maintains that the killing was “heinous and cruel” and the remarkable circumstances behind the girl’s death warrant both a first-degree murder charge and a sentence of death. She maintains that the aggravating factors necessary for a sentence of death are already in place. Not only was the victim particularly vulnerable, but her parents knowingly created a situation where they knowingly placed her in grave risk of death.
Prosecutors also say that Meyers placed her other children in serious danger, but as of yet, there is no indication that the other children were either malnourished nor suffering from any injury.
Two Separate Trials
Alex Aleman and Kristen Meyer will be tried separately and Aleman is already blaming Meyer for the girl’s death. This is likely in the hopes that his testimony can be used against Meyer to get a death penalty conviction. This will only work if the prosecution requires Aleman’s testimony to get that conviction. That may not be the case at all.
This will be an interesting case to watch as more information becomes known.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re accused of a serious crime, then you need an experienced attorney to manage your case. Call a West Palm Beach criminal attorney at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how we can help.