Closing arguments start Friday in Dewey toddler death trial

Closing arguments will begin Friday morning in the trial of a Dewey man accused of killing his 15-month-old stepdaughter.

 

Marcus Mitchell, 23, is charged with first-degree murder. In addition, Mitchell also faces child neglect and drug charges.

 

Prosecutors say Mitchell beat his stepdaughter, Emma Warmberodt, to death at their home in Dewey in February 2012.

 

On Thursday, the final day of testimony, prosecutors showed jurors photos of the little girl's injuries, which included extensive bruising.

 

Mitchell, who remained quiet throughout the day, avoided looking at the photos the entire time they were being shown.

 

Court records show Mitchell admitted to hitting the girl, but his attorney said he did not mean to severely harm or kill her.

 

The defense called into question a report by the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office, which ruled the girl's death as blunt force trauma to the chest.

 

Two investigators who worked on the report were fired a few months later, but the chief medical examiner said the terminations had nothing to do with the Dewey case.

 

During his testimony the chief medical examiner, who reviewed his former employee's report, said the injuries Warmberodt sustained were some of the worse he had ever seen on a child.

 

Two others are also charged in connection to the case.

 

The little girl's mother, Ashley Ann Williamson Mitchell, along with Mitchell's mother, Juanachellee Fitch, face child neglect charges. Fitch is also charged with accessory to first degree murder.

 

Williamson Mitchell pleaded guilty last week and is awaiting sentence. Fitch is expected to enter a plea Feb. 6.

 

Closing arguments in Marcus Mitchell's trial begin at 10 a.m. Friday.

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