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Penalty phase begins in microwave killing

Sept. 2, 2008 at 10:15 PM

DAYTON, Ohio, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The penalty phase began Tuesday for an Ohio woman who could receive a death sentence for killing her baby daughter by putting her in a microwave oven.

The prosecution put on no witnesses, the Dayton Daily News reported. Assistant County Prosecutor Dan Brandt moved to have all the evidence during the guilt phase of China Arnold's trial considered in the penalty phase.

Relatives who testified for the defense called Arnold a loving mother. Her uncle, John Cartwright, said he saw her toward the end of her pregnancy at a July 4 picnic and described her as "ecstatic" about having a daughter.

Arnold was convicted Friday of the aggravated murder of Paris Talley, who suffered fatal burns in August 2005 when she was 28 days old. The jury must make a sentencing recommendation to Judge Mary Wiseman with options that include death, life with no parole and life with parole possible after 25 or 30 years.

A psychologist, Jeffrey Smalldon, testified Arnold was "almost exaggeratedly compliant" during interviews with him. He described her as of at least average intelligence and said she suffered from no mental problems except mild depression.

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