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Jury convicts mother in microwaved-baby case

Ohio panel rejects defense

China Arnold, 28, showed no reaction when the jury's verdict was announced, then lowered her head. China Arnold, 28, showed no reaction when the jury's verdict was announced, then lowered her head. (Ron Alvey/Dayton Daily News via AP)
By James Hannah
Associated Press / August 30, 2008
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DAYTON, Ohio - A mother was convicted yesterday of killing her month-old daughter by burning her in a microwave oven, with jurors rejecting a defense attorney's claims that there was evidence that someone else was responsible.

China Arnold, 28, showed no reaction when the jury's verdict was announced and then lowered her head, looking down at the defense table. Relatives in the courtroom cried and covered their faces with their hands. They later left the courthouse without commenting.

Arnold was found guilty of aggravated murder and could be sentenced to death.

The jury was scheduled to return Tuesday to begin hearing evidence in the death penalty phase of the case.

Arnold was accused of killing daughter Paris Talley in 2005.

A judge declared a mistrial in February, and the retrial began Aug. 18. Jury deliberations started Thursday following closing arguments.

Prosecutors said Arnold intentionally put her baby in the microwave oven and burned the child to death after fight with her boyfriend.

Arnold's cellmate testified that Arnold confessed to putting the baby in the microwave and turning it on because she was worried her boyfriend would leave her if he found out the child wasn't his.

The baby's DNA was found inside the microwave in Arnold's apartment, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion told the jury there was evidence that someone else was responsible.

He cited testimony from an 8-year-old boy who said he saw another boy walk into the kitchen of a nearby apartment with the baby, heard the microwave go on, and then later saw the burned baby in the microwave.

Judge John Kessler declared a mistrial Feb. 11 after he privately heard testimony from the juvenile.

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