An attorney for China Arnold argued Tuesday in Ohio’s Second District Court of Appeals that there were five errors made in Arnold’s case and that she should get another trial without death penalty specifications.
Arnold, 33, was convicted of murdering her 28-day-old daughter, Paris Talley, by placing the baby in a microwave and “cooking” her in August 2005. Arnold was tried three times, with the death penalty a possibility each time.
Arnold was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of a parole after a jury did not vote for the death penalty. Arnold’s first trial in February 2008 ended in a mistrial. Her second trial ended in September 2008 when she was found guilty but the jury could not decide on the death penalty.
Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman imposed a sentence of life in prison, but that decision ultimately was overturned on appeal in November 2010. The third trial ended in May 2011.
Defense attorney Christopher Thompson listed multiple possible trial court errors in his filed brief. They are:
- Whether the court erred in overruling Arnold’s motion to dismiss the death penalty specification
Whether the court erred in not instructing the jury on the lesser included offense of reckless homicide
Whether the court erred in permitting the state to use a preemptory jury challenge in what he termed a “racially discriminatory fashion”
Whether the court erred in not permitting Arnold to present a complete defense
- Whether the court denied Arnold due process and a fair trial due to prosecutorial misconduct
Thompson and Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office assistant attorney Andrew French argued their points in front of an appellate panel of Judges Michael T. Hall, Mike Fain and Jeffrey M. Welbaum.
Thompson said Arnold was defended differently because the death penalty specifications were on the table and suggested that if they were not, Arnold may have taken the stand in her own defense. French said most of the case law cited by Thompson is not applicable to Arnold’s case.
The judges said the oral arguments and the briefs would be taken into consideration and that they would rule in due time.
Arnold was accused of killing her daughter at her home at 415 Hall Ave. in the since-demolished Parkside Homes public housing complex.
Arnold admitted to police that the baby woke her up about 2:30 a.m., prosecutors have said. She also told police that she was alone, beside her other children, who were asleep upstairs
Paris Talley arrived at Children’s Medical Center with burns all over the front of her body, but no skin or fluid on her pink nightgown. Police found a tub filled with water and “translucent material” consistent with skin, according to prosecutors.
Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion attacked the case and said that the evidence pointed as much to Terrell Talley, the baby’s father, as it did Arnold. Terrell Talley was not charged in his daughter’s death.