POSTED: Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 10:39am
UPDATED: Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 11:00am
EL PASO — Thursday morning, a same jury will reconvene to consider Shawntrell Dawkins' punishment. The sentence could be 5-99 years, or life, after being found guilty of murder.
Dawkins murderd her two year old goddaughter Milayna Harris in April 2008. She called 911 to report the child had fallen accidentally down the apartment staircase. This jury didn't buy the story.
In closing arguments defense lawyer Stuart Leeds blamed the baby's death on Dawkins' husband Nakia Dawkins, an army staff sergeant who'd recently returned from Iraq. He's been convicted of injury to a child in a separate trial
Leeds told jurors, "Nakia tortured that child to death", adding there was no evidence in trial that Shawntrell helped her husband harm the baby. Leeds also cautioned the jury to deliberate slowly, saying that quick verdicts only worked "in Nazi Germany"
But prosecutor Penny Hamilton stood her ground in closing, referring to Dawkins as "that woman", and even as a monster. Speaking of both Dawkins and her husband, Hamilton told the jury of twelve. "They both killed that child", adding "people don't get to murder kids and walk away."
Shawntrell Dawkins left the courtroom, not on an elevator ride to freedom, but back into jail custody. She may never be free again.