Stepmom found guilty of murder

October 12, 2009 3:12:23 PM PDT
A woman accused of beating her two-year-old stepdaughter has been found guilty of murder.Michelle Bearnth was convicted of killing her two-year-old stepdaughter, Kylie Perkins, last October. Prosecutors say Bearnth was abusive and went too far one day when she caused the injuries leading to Kylie's death.

The jury began deliberating around 11:15am Monday morning before coming back with the verdict in the afternoon.

Defense attorneys argued that Michelle was giving Kylie a bath when the baby fell. They attributed Kylie's injuries to that fall, injuries that included massive brain swelling and complex skull fractures, as expert witnesses testified.

To make their case, prosecutors recreated a bathroom, complete with a bathtub, toilet and sink in the courtroom. They painted Bearnth as an emotionless, cold, cruel mother, quite contrary to defense attorney's portrayal.

Bearnth appeared quite emotional often with a tissue in her hand, crying.

Family members of Kylie's biological mother were also in the courtroom and an image of Kylie's face and eyes remained up on a TV screen the entire time in the front of the courtroom.

The punishment phase of the case will begin Tuesday.

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