The long awaited re-trial of T’kia Bevily came to an end on Friday. Bevily was found not guilty of the killing of 14-month-old Jurayah Smith.
Last year, T’Kia was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. However, the conviction was later overturned when it was revealed that one of the jurors in the trial was the victim’s great uncle.
Prosecutors alleged that T’Kia killed the toddler for ‘messing up her perfect life’ that she had planned with her husband. The defense denies that claim and says that Jurayah was injured before the Bevily’s picked her up that day and that they were unaware of the injuries.
The defense called two medical experts to the stand who testified they do not believe Jurayah’s causes of death was blunt force trauma to the head. They did not have cause to believe her death was a homicide.
De. Peter Dehnel and Dr. William Truly gave similar opinions on the matter. Dr. Dehnel stated that based on Jurayah’s external appearance after her death and from the photos he had seen, he saw no signs of significant internal head injuries that would have led to her death.
Over 300 individuals were interviewed for jury selection. The process took over nine hours to select the twelve jurors that would be tasked with determining if Bevily was guilty of capital murder.
On Friday, the jury found Bevily not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Hattiesburg Patriot News was live at the courthouse as the verdict was rendered.See a typo? Report it here.