Tuesday, February 3, 2009
A Galveston jury deliberated for about an hour and a half before returning a guilty verdict in the capital murder case against Kimberly Dawn Trenor. 20-year-old Trenor will spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Trenor admits to beating little Riley, but claimed not to have delivered the fatal blow. She claimed her husband, Royce Zeigler – who faces trial later this year – ultimately killed Riley.
The County Medical Examiner, Stephen Pustilnik testified any reasonable person could have seen Riley had been affected by having her head hit the floor and was in need of medical attention.
DA Kurt Sistrunk, during closing arguments, slammed his fist against a table over and over telling jurors, that was the sound Riley's skull made when her head was slammed against the tile floor.
Trenor’s attorney, Tommie Stickler, said Trenor was a scared 18-year-old who was afraid of and controlled by her husband.
Stickler presented only one defense witness, a co-worker of Royce Zeigler. He testified he believed Zeigler seemed to be controlling of his wife.
Trenor did not take the stand in her own defense.
What was probably the most disturbing and damming evidence available to the jury was Trenor’s handwritten journal (Caution – disturbing content):
"I just kept hitting her with the belt again and again. I don't know how long, but I remember her trying to get away and me knocking her back down."
"I told her to stand up and face me, but she couldn't stand up," "She was black and blue from head to toe, barely able to squeeze my fingers. All I could do was hold her and feel her go cold."
Trenor showed no emotion as the verdict was read, however many of the jurors and investigators who spent weeks trying to identify ‘Baby Grace’ wiped tears from their eyes.