Stepfather convicted in death of 'Baby Grace'

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Stepfather convicted in death of 'Baby Grace'

Post by Justice4all on Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:19 am

GALVESTON, Texas – Two years after the remains of a toddler who came to be known as "Baby Grace" were dumped in Galveston Bay , the child's stepfather was convicted of capital murder in her beating death.

The remains of Riley Ann Sawyer — weighing 12 pounds and stuffed into a plastic container — remained unidentified for nearly a month after they were discovered October 2007 . Investigators dubbed the child "Baby Grace."

Then Sheryl Sawyers of Mentor, Ohio , a Cleveland suburb, saw an artist's sketch and told Texas police she thought the child might be her missing granddaughter.

"I wish I hadn't been right," Sheryl Sawyers said Friday.

Riley's stepfather, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, was convicted of capital murder Friday and will receive an automatic life sentence without parole because prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. Jurors, who deliberated for 4 1/2 hours after an eight day trial, could have convicted Zeigler of a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Riley's mother, Kimberly Trenor, was convicted of capital murder in February and is serving a life sentence.

"The two people responsible for her murder have been convicted," Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said. "It's a good day for Riley."

Prosecutors said Zeigler and Trenor killed the toddler at their home in Spring, a suburb north of Houston, during a July 2007 discipline session intended to teach her proper manners. Zeigler was upset the 2-year-old didn't consistently use "please" and "thank you," authorities said.

Trenor and Zeigler beat Riley with belts, dunked her head in a cold bath water and threw her onto a tile floor, fracturing her skull, prosecutors said. An autopsy determined the child died of several skull fractures .

After Riley's death, the couple stuffed her body in a plastic box and hid it for months in a storage shed at their home. Then they drove about 75 miles southeast to Galveston Bay , where they dumped the container and body in October 2007 , according to authorities.

Riley's remains were discovered by a fisherman on a small island in the bay.

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I'm glad Zeigler was convicted of capital murder. A manslaughter conviction would not have been justice for Riley.

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Re: Stepfather convicted in death of 'Baby Grace'

Post by babbette on Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:29 am

Justice has been served.

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Re: Stepfather convicted in death of 'Baby Grace'

Post by Piper on Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:36 am


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Re: Stepfather convicted in death of 'Baby Grace'

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