Trial continues for Exeter man charged with the death and sexual abuse of 3-year-old girl

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The trial of an Exeter man charged with the murder and sexual abuse of a three-year-old girl continued in Visalia Tuesday. (KFSN)

The trial of an Exeter man charged with the murder and sexual abuse of a three-year-old girl continued in Visalia Tuesday. Christopher Cheary could face the death penalty if convicted of killing his girlfriend's daughter.

Former Exeter Police Officer Randy Smith was the first law enforcement officer at the scene on the day three-year-old Sophia Acosta was killed five years ago.

Smith testified he found the child unconscious and not breathing on the floor and felt a faint pulse. He was able to rub her chest and get her heart beating. After paramedics arrived and took over the efforts to revive the child he inspected the apartment, gathering evidence and taking pictures.

"There was what appeared to be blood stains on the mattress and as I turned around and walked back toward the hallway I noticed what appeared to be blood up along the door jamb."

Pictures he took showing the battered and bruised body of the child, along with evidence of sexual abuse and other disturbing photographs taken by Tulare County Sheriff's Detective William Meek, were entered into evidence.

Cheary, the suspect in the murder, showed no emotion as some of the photos of the child's bruises were displayed on a screen.

Also testifying was Richard Neverez who was the maintenance man at the apartment complex. He testified that after the crime scene had been cleared, he went into clean and found a condom wrapper in the child's bedroom, along with what he believed was a sexual device.

"It looked like a cigar thing and it had an off and on switch."

Investigators from the state department of justice also testified. The child's mother, Erica Smith is expected to take the stand this week.

Smith had left her daughter alone with Cheary, allegedly to buy drugs. She has not been charged.

If convicted Cheary could face the death penalty for the child's death.
Related Topics:
newstrialchild deathsex crimestulare countyvisaliaVisalia
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