Zeigler jurors hear 'Rules for Riley'

November 2, 2009 2:32:06 PM PST
'Rules for Riley' -- that's what jurors in the Royce Zeigler murder trial heard Monday. [PHOTOS: Images from 'Baby Grace' trial]

Zeigler is accused of beating to death his two-year-old step-daughter, Riley Ann Sawyers, while disciplining her two years ago. Her body was found stuffed in a cooler and found floating in Galveston Bay.

Zeigler walked into court Monday morning and briefly looked around. He spent the rest of the day looking downward, his hand to his head. He never once looked up to acknowledge the display of Riley Ann Sawyers' clothing.

The prosecution displayed the clothing worn by Riley Ann the day her body was found by fishermen in west Galveston Bay in 2007. Two members of the jury began to cry a third asked for a tissue.

The testimony was from Sgt. Elias Cazares with the Galveston County Sheriff's Office. Sgt. Cazares showed the jury the foot locker where Riley Ann's body was placed and the trash bags she'd been stuffed into.

Sgt. Cazares then testified about spiral notebooks he found during a search of Zeigler's home and storage unit. One notebook detailed 'Rules for Riley' and lists nine rules for the child to follow.

Among the rules were to be polite, listen to mom and me, sleep at 8pm, nap at 2pm, toys stay in her room, put toys back where she got them, behave in public, never alone in our room, chocolate or treats only as a reward.

Sgt. Cazares testified that the "rules seemed reasonable." He then added, "I thought it odd it was written down for a child who can't read."

Riley Ann's mother, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, was convicted in February of capital murder in her daughter's death. Riley Ann's stepfather was implicated by Trenor for taking part in the child's deadly beating. However, Zeigler's defense team says there is nothing to tie Zeigler to Riley Ann's death.

"Royce is absolutely guilty of tampering with physical evidence, 100 percent guilty of it and nobody has to feel sorry for him or like him or like him, but what you do have to do is hold the state to their burden of proof to show him guilty of murder, intentionally taking that child's life beyond a reasonable doubt and there is no evidence of that in this case," said defense attorney Dee McWilliams.

The defense says Zeigler admits to helping to dispose of the body, but doesn't admit to killing Riley Ann. Trenor's name is on the witness list to testify in this trial. It's not known yet if she will testify.

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