Jurors quickly convicted a man of third-degree murder for beating his girlfriend’s daughter to death, leaving the girl’s mother as the sole remaining co-defendant awaiting trial. They took only one hour and 15 minutes to deliberate on Thursday in a Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, courtroom to determine Jahrid Burgess, 21, killed Arabella Parker, 3, according to WNEP.
The mother Samantha Delcamp, 25, who faces a pending count of homicide and denied receiving a deal in exchange for testifying, reportedly testified to washing dishes on Oct. 10, 2019, and then hearing Burgess yelling at Parker. He had the girl by the throat and threw her on children’s furniture. Delcamp said that she asked him “at least a dozen times” for him to call 911, but he instead called his mother Christy Willis, 51, who in turn called 911.
She said that Burgess had previously physically abused her and Parker. After one such beating, she said, he forced them to walk naked in a living room with their hands in the air. This was to make sure that they did not have broken bones. Other abuse including him kicking the 3-year-old girl in the back three days before the fatal attack and holding her in the bathtub while dousing her face with water.
Delcamp denied ever hitting Parker.
She testified that she at first lied to police after the fatal beating out of fear of Burgess.
“If anything happens to Arabella, we can just have another child or a double suicide,” Burgess told her, according to the woman’s testimony.
Delcamp also testified that Burgess beat her when she was pregnant, causing her to lose the child, which was his, but Burgess attorney Richard Feudale objected, saying the defense did not previously know about the pregnancy and that they have no evidence to show that she was truly expecting a child.
Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz told jurors that the wait time to call 911 was 49 minutes after the attack, and that Burgess waited so long he knew “the jig was up,” according The Daily Item.
“He knew he was in serious trouble if Arabella went to the hospital because they would see the bruises from the beatings she received,” the prosecutor said.
Parker, suffering from brain damage and broken bones, remained at the hospital for more than a month before she died.
Willis was found guilty in April for lying to authorities, and she was sentenced up to 17 years in prison.
“I was very close with Arabella,” Burgess said in testimony on Thursday. “She loved me and I loved her.”
He said he did throw her onto a piece of children’s furniture but insisted he did not mean to hurt her. He said he believed that Parker’s bruises were from EMS and doctors.
“I didn’t forcibly throw her to hurt her, but I should have walked her the extra couple of steps to put her on the couch,” he said, according to WNEP.
In short, he maintained his actions were a mistake.
“A misthrow is a misthrow, but accidents happen,” he said, according to The Daily Item. “I am embarrassed, but I didn’t mean to hurt this child. I have to live with it every day. I love and miss Arabella.”
Parker’s family welcomed news of the guilty verdict.
“This is justice for Arabella,” aunt Mandy Kegler said, according to The Daily Item. “We are pleased with the results and thank the jury.”
[Screenshot via WNEP]
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