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Verdict: Guilty on all five counts

Two women – Chiquita Dior Snipes and Kenisha Neal – who were charged with the 2010 murder of 2-year-old Ty’Quan Edge were in court this week to face multiple charges related to the toddler’s death. One pleaded guilty and the other trial is ongoing. FRIDAY UPDATE: Snipes was found by the 12-member jury to be guilty on all five counts against her. Judge Christopher Edwards sentenced her to life in prison without the possibility of parole. THURSDAY UPDATE: Several witnesses for the defense and prosecution took the stand Thursday during the Snipes trial – including her Snipes’ mother and several people from the jails – both inmates and officers – where both women were initially held after Ty’Quan’s death. Closing arguments from both sides were heard and ended just after 4 p.m. Thursday. Judge Christopher Edwards read the indictment against Snipes as well as a description of the charges and charged the jurors with the legal rules required to follow as they arrive at five unanimous decisions about the charges Snipes faces. UPDATE: In court Wednesday, several witnesses took the stand, including Kenisha Neal and her 12-year-old niece who also resided at the home during the five-week period when the toddler was living there. A video interview of an investigative interview of Snipes was shown at the end of the day. During the lengthy interview with Snipes, she at first said she never spanked the young boy, but put him in timeout. After more than an hour of the interview elapsed and after repeatedly being asked where all the bruises to his head and body came from, Snipes said he was sleepwalking and hit his head. She also said she was “trying to pull something out of something” and her arm accidentally hit him and knocked his head into the doorknob.” Snipes later admitted to holding him upside down while striking him with the flat surface of a hair brush. She said during that same incident, he banged his head on the wall while she was taking him into the bedroom to put him down on the bed. She also said she hit him on the side of his head with the back of her left hand. She said she would hit him when he would misbehave or not listen to her instructions. The rest of the tape will be shown starting at 9 a.m. Thursday. Kenisha Shontee Neal who was 23 at the time of the toddler’s death pleaded guilty Tuesday morning and was sentenced to life in prison with a possibility for parole. Both Neal and Chiquita Dior Snipes faced murder charges and charges of aggravated assault, cruelty to children in the first degree and cruelty to children in the second degree. A jury was selected for the case against Snipes and opening statements started Tuesday morning around 10:30 a.m. It was stated that the child’s mother left him under Neal and Snipes’ care because she was expecting another child and experiencing complications from that. Pictures taken after his death were shown to the jury, documenting injuries to the boy’s head, neck, penis, back, stomach, legs, lips and arms. Some of the injuries were fresh wounds, others were healing and some were already healed and visible as scars. According to Dr. Lora Darrisaw, a forensic and pediatric pathologist for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, there were 10 different bruised areas of his head indicative of blunt force trauma that caused his death. Defense attorneys asked if he could have fallen from the toilet and received the injuries as claimed by Neal. ”I’m concerned that about the fact that this 2 year old child had a lot of injuries that are out of proportion to other 2 year olds as well as the locations of the injuries,” said Dr. Darrisaw. “In addition, the more significant bruising on the face did not match what could have occurred from a fall in the bathroom.” The young boy was unconscious and not breathing when paramedics responded May 22, 2010 to a 911 call from the Highway 362 residence in Williamson. His mother left him with the two women who were supposed to be taking care of him. When first responders arrived, people at the residence were attempting CPR. The two alleged killers will be tried separately. Jury members for both trials were selected starting Monday at Pike County courthouse. Hearings will begin as soon as the juries are selected. Motion hearings were held April 9 for Snipes. She is represented by attorney Billy Maddox. Attorney Harry Charles, the conflict public defender, will represent Neal.

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