Closing arguments presented in trial of a Visalia man accused murdering a toddler

Closing arguments happened Friday in a Visalia courtroom as the case wrapped up against a man accused of beating his girlfriend?s daughter to death in 2009.
December 14, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
In Visalia Friday prosecutors and defense attorneys gave their closing arguments in a case against a man accused of beating his girlfriend's daughter to death in 2009.

Ryann Jones is on trial for murder with special circumstances, for the death of Natalynn Miller.

Autopsy photos were shown along with bruises all over the child. Prosecutors say these injuries were solely at the hands of Ryann Jones. But defense attorneys say the child fell off a dresser, may have been injured during CPR, or may have choked to death.

The last picture Natalynn took with her father a few days before she died was the final picture the prosecutor showed to jurors. Even though she was just three, she said the toddler loved taking pictures and cuddling with dad.

But Deputy DA Brenda Broker said Natalynn was left in the care of the last person her father wanted her with, Ryann Jones.

"This man, that she wanted nothing to do with. It was the last face that Natalynn saw before she was tortured and killed," Broker said.

Defense attorneys said many witnesses who have taken the stand have been biased and exaggerated their statements. Jones attorney, showed jurors two sports balls as an example of how stories evolve.

"But everything began to change dramatically. So that the golf ball sized bump on her head became the size of a baseball," Jones' Attorney Phillip Cherney said.

Prosecutors said even though Jones was only in a relationship with Natalynn's mother for less than a year, he hated the toddler and was jealous of her. Those who saw Natalynn in the days leading to her death, did not notice any major injuries, but did testify the little girl had some bruises.

Jurors were told Natalynn's death was painful.

But defense attorneys said Jones heard a sound he assumes was Natalynn falling from something and also noted she was clumsy. Jones attorneys are also claiming proper tissue samples weren't taken during an autopsy and Natalynn's injuries may have been caused by emergency responders.

Natalynn's mother was in court Friday to support Jones. She is also facing a judge next year on charges of felony child endangerment.


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