Jurors hear from defense in 'Baby Grace' trial

November 4, 2009 3:15:51 PM PST
The defense presented its case Wednesday in the trial of Royce Zeigler, who's accused of killing his stepdaughter.[PHOTOS: Images from 'Baby Grace' trial]

The defense admits Royce Zeigler played a role after the death of two-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers, but insists he did not kill her.

The defense began to make its case for Zeigler Wednesday in the Baby Grace trial with a two-pronged tactic: first in trying to show the jury that Zeigler is a "gentle giant" incapable of murder and secondly, trying to prove that Kimberly Dawn Trenor masterminded the cover up.

Character witnesses for Zeigler took the stand Wednesday in the Spring man's capital murder trial, including his best friend from high school, Reed Emerson, and former supervisors from SCI where he once worked.

Evelyn Rallins, one of the former supervisors, said, "He made everyone around him feel comfortable. He was kind a giving and generous."

Emerson testified that Zeigler was quiet, shy, and loving towards baby Riley. But the prosecution cross-hammered home points that Zeigler admitted to on a video shown to the jury that he had stored her body for three weeks, had bought a container at Wal-mart and had dumper her body in Galveston Bay in 2007.

When prosecutors asked Emerson if he thought that throwing a child into Galveston Bay is loving, he answered, "No."

The defense then called a private investigator who'd been to Zeigler's home in December of 2007. He found pieces of paper in a spiral notebook, one a fake letter from Ohio Child Protective Services and another that appeared to have been written by Trenor detailing July 27, 2007. The letter says an Ohio CPS worker came and took baby Riley.

"Does it appear to you that she is the person concocting the story?" asked the defense.

"Yes," replied the private investigator.

Trenor was convicted in February of the capital murder of Baby Grace and is serving a life sentence.

The trial is expected last at least a few more days, if not into next week.

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