Judge refuses to dismiss murder charge

Jan. 9, 2013 at 5:42 PM
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MIAMI, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A judge in Miami refused Wednesday to dismiss charges against a woman accused of killing a 4-year-old girl who vanished 11 years ago.

Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez ruled prosecutors have produced enough evidence against Geralyn Graham to allow the case to go to a jury, WBFS-TV in Miami reported. Graham's lawyer, Scott Sakin, moved to have the charges dismissed, arguing there is no proof Rilya Wilson is dead or that Graham killed her.

Sakin began presenting his case Wednesday, a day after the prosecution rested.

The prosecution's witnesses included women who testified Graham admitted killing Rilya in jailhouse confessions. Ramona Tavia, the last to take the stand, told the jury Tuesday that Graham, after denying many times she killed her foster child, made a tearful confession, saying she was trying to protect her housemate and lover, Pamela Graham, who is not related to her, The Miami Herald reported.

"She said she was doing it for Pam," Tavia said. "She had to protect Pam. She's sick, she's weak so she killed the baby for Pam."

Sakin called Rene Vila, a sergeant in the Miami-Dade corrections department, who testified records did not show Graham and Tavia sharing a cell. Vila acknowledged on cross-examination the records are not necessarily complete.

A former homicide detective also testified for the defense, WBFS said. Chris Stroze said Pamela Graham, who testified last month Graham bought a cage to control Rilya, said in 2002 the cage had been bought for some puppies and Rilya liked to play in it.

Rilya vanished about 18 months before child welfare agencies realized she was missing. Graham and her lover told investigators a social worker had taken the little girl for medical tests and never brought her back.

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