A judge has denied a defense motion to acquit a South Florida woman accused of killing 4-year-old foster child Rilya Wilson over a decade ago.
Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez ruled Wednesday there was sufficient evidence for a jury to decide the fate of 66-year-old Geralyn Graham. Defense attorneys had argued that there's no direct evidence that Rilya is dead because no remains were recovered and there's little other forensic or eyewitness evidence.
Rilya disappeared in late 2000 but state officials did not find out for some 15 months. The state's case hinges on testimony of three jailhouse informants who say Graham confessed to them behind bars.
After the prosecution rested its case Tuesday, the defense began making its own Wednesday.
Graham's attorneys tried to show the informants made up their claims to benefit themselves. They called Detective Ramesh Nyberg – the first cop informant Robin Lunceford called from jail – to the stand.
Nyberg testified that Lunceford never told him that Graham told her she smothered Rilya and put her near water. Lunceford said in court Dec. 19 that Grahm told her that she smothered the child with a pillow.
The defense also called Miami-Dade Police Detective Chris Stroze to testify, making the point that the inmate confessors could have been guided by what they heard on TV news.
"During the whole course of this, obviously, the media was involved, and there was a lot of information being broadcast," Stroze said.
The defense also took a stab at painting Graham's former lover, Pamela Graham, with the brush of suspicion. Stroze interrogated her.
"Going to jail and everything as a result for this, she had made a mention that she didn't do anything, and that she didn't want to go to jail for 60 years," he said.
Pamela Graham has pleaded guilty to two counts of child neglect, and will be sentenced after Geralyn Graham's trial ends.