Father of toddler killed in south valley 5 years ago appears in court as murder trial reaches third day

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Obediah Acosta took the witness stand during the third day of the Christopher Cheary murder trial. (KFSN)

Obediah Acosta took the witness stand during the third day of the Christopher Cheary murder trial. Cheary is accused of raping and killing Acosta's daughter, Sophia Acosta in may of 2011.

"It's difficult-- I mean that guy, he sits there like nothing happened. But it's just awkward and just a bunch of emotional stuff going on."

It's been five years since his daughter died, so naturally Acosta said being here in court brings back a lot of bad memories. Acosta is 25 now, lives in Visalia and works as a truck driver. He said family, like his grandfather, has been supporting him through everything.

While Acosta would rather not say how he feels about Cheary, he didn't hesitate to talk about Sophia, who was three at the time of her death.

"She was just a happy kid and everything. She just made a lot of people smile and laugh."

Sophia was found unresponsive at an Exeter apartment on May 7th, 2011. She and her sister had been in the care of their mother's boyfriend, Cheary.

While their mother, Erika Smith was allegedly buying drugs in Visalia. Prosecutors said Sophia suffered blunt force trauma causing excessive bleeding at the hands of Cheary. Smith has never been charged.

Cheary's defense team has argued that their client is innocent. They said there was no fresh blood found inside the apartment, and any bleeding discovered later was due to a disorder Sophia had.

They claim Cheary's DNA wasn't found on Sophia and vice-versa, and that he didn't run from authorities after Sophia was brought to the hospital.

Wednesday, Acosta testified that he visited Sophia at Valley Children's, where she later died. It had been about a year since he had seen his daughter.

"I just hope there's justice you know. I'm never really going to be at peace with everything that happened, but I'm just hoping for justice."

Wednesday we also heard from a criminalist with the Department of Justice crime lab in Fresno. In summary, she found none of Sophia Acosta's DNA on a swab of Christopher Cheary.

After doing DNA analysis on several pieces of evidence, she found DNA matching Sophia's profile on three items stained with blood, as well as DNA matching Cheary's profile on a bed skirt stained with semen.

Related Topics:
trialmurderchild deathvisaliatulare countyVisaliaExeter
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