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Trial of Martinez woman charged in death of toddler ends in mistrial

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 7:39 PM
Last updated Sunday, Aug 12, 2012 2:14 AM
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The trial of a Martinez woman charged in the 2009 death of a toddler she was baby-sitting ended in a mistrial Saturday.

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John Markwalter, the prosecuting attorney in the Lawanda Tripp trial, and Antoinette Hall, the mother of the victim, 22-month-old Teaira Hall, leave the courtroom for a moment while the jury continues deliberations. The jury did not reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared Saturday.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
John Markwalter, the prosecuting attorney in the Lawanda Tripp trial, and Antoinette Hall, the mother of the victim, 22-month-old Teaira Hall, leave the courtroom for a moment while the jury continues deliberations. The jury did not reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared Saturday.


Lawanda Concettes Tripp, 41, is charged with murder in the death of 22-month-old Teaira Michele Hall, who was in Tripp’s care when she died Nov. 15, 2009, from head injuries.

Superior Court Judge Michael N. Annis declared a mistrial Sat­ur­day evening after the jurors announced they were deadlocked after more than 11 hours over two days of deliberations.

“There’s going to be a retrial,” said Tripp’s attorney, Victor Hawk.

Teaira died from traumatic head injuries, according to Co­lum­bia County Coroner Vernon Col­lins. She suffered injury and swelling to her brain and optical structures, Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter said.

There were differing opinions from medical experts testifying for both sides as to when the fatal injuries might have occurred. Both experts said large bruises on the inside of Teaira’s scalp were old, possibly with new bruises superimposed on top.

Hawk said the injuries happened before Tripp took care of Teaira and that the toddler was sick when she was left in Tripp’s care. Teaira banged her head during a tantrum, causing a seizure and ultimately her death, he said.

Markwalter said Teaira might have had previous injuries but that the fatal ones happened while in Tripp’s care and were likely inflicted by Tripp.

Tripp, who testified Friday afternoon, denied harming Teaira.

“I never did anything to hurt Teaira,” she said. “I loved that little girl as if she was my own.”

Annis said he will work with attorneys and reschedule the trial, possibly for September or October.

“Right now, everybody is going to re-evaluate their position and decide how to move forward,” Markwalter said.

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KSL
143817
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KSL 08/12/12 - 03:32 am
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Obviously the prosecution did

Obviously the prosecution did not prove their case "beyond a reasonable doubt." What you see or read about a trial is nothing like serving on a jury with the obligation to decide based on the burden of proof and rules of law. Of course, there is always the problem of getting a juror or more than one who does not have the intellectual ability to decide based on the points of law rather than his own opinions based on emotions and/or personal beliefs.

CobaltGeorge
175845
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/11/12 - 07:58 pm
1
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I Wouldn't Speak

one solitary word on this case unless I have spent every living spoken moment in the court room during this trial.

Dixieman
17395
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Dixieman 08/11/12 - 10:29 pm
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CobaltGeorge

You are 100% correct. You have to be there and hear every word and see every exhibit. (I am a lawyer). Otherwise, an opinion on guilt or innocence is just uniformed idle chatter.

KSL
143817
Points
KSL 08/12/12 - 04:01 am
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Exactly, Dixie. I am not a

Exactly, Dixie. I am not a lawyer, but I am a brilliant lawyer's daughter. And I have been on the jury serving end once, which enhanced the principles of the law I was exposed to growimg up. I say that becsuse based on the principals of our laws, we had rule the the accused not guilty based on the case presented by the "state." He was definitely guilty and every one of us on the jury knew it. But the prosecution's case failed due to faulty police work. Could have been they had an even bigger fish to fry on the line, so to speak.

JRC2024
10459
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JRC2024 08/12/12 - 08:48 am
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Only Ms. Tripp knows 100%

Only Ms. Tripp knows 100% what is right or wrong.

allhans
24885
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allhans 08/12/12 - 01:54 pm
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It does you make you wonder

It does you make you wonder about the make-up of juries. So many bad decisions....

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