UPDATE: Kimberly Dawn Trenor has been found guilty of capital murder in this case, and her sentence is life in prison without possibility of parole. Since she’s only twenty years old, that could amount to sixty to seventy years.
“GALVESTON, Texas — A mother was convicted Monday of capital murder in the beating death of her 2-year-old daughter during a daylong discipline session in which the toddler was whipped with belts and flung across a room like a rag doll.
A jury deliberated less than two hours before convicting 20-year-old Kimberly Dawn Trenor in the death of Riley Ann Sawyers. Trenor did not seem to show any emotion after the verdict was read. The conviction brought an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.
Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. Jurors could have also convicted her of two lesser charges.”
Let her rot.
For those of you late to this party…
“Trenor and her husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, were accused of killing the toddler during the July 2007 discipline session designed to teach her proper manners. Prosecutors said Trenor and Zeigler beat Riley with belts, dunked her head in cold bath water and threw her onto a tile floor, fracturing her skull and causing her death. Zeigler, also charged with capital murder, is being tried later and remains jailed.”
No news on whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Zeigler, but there couldn’t be a better case for it, IMO, and I’m generally against capital punishment.
I agonized over whether or not to even post about Baby Grace because I find this case to be so deeply, deeply disturbing.
It’s not a complicated case. In a nutshell, this man…
Royce Clyde Zeigler II
… is accused of beating this little two-year-old girl…
Riley Ann Sawyers, aka Baby Grace
… to death, while her mother…
Kimberly Dawn Trenor
Here’s the part that totally and completely eviscerated me:
“… Trenor did nothing to save her daughter, not even when Riley told her mother “I love you” as she was being beaten.”
Got that? As this little girl was being beaten to death she was telling her mother that she loved her, and her mother did nothing to save her.
I’m not at all ashamed to admit that I lost it at this point in the article, and I’m not talking about a few easily wiped away tears here, I’m talking about a raging, screaming, face-in-hands, anguished and protracted cry. In fact, I need to take a break from this post to re-compose myself right now.
The more I thought about this abjectly pathetic case, the more troubled I became over the questions it raised in my mind. Sure, all civilized men and women of good will would be aghast and horrified by this outrageous insult to one so innocent, and so those first unanswerable whys and hows came obviously.
Here’s the thing: I read about horrors in the news all the time, as I’m sure any reader of this blog does, because we’re hyper-informed by a relentlessly sensationalist 24/7/365 news cycle these days, so the question that I wanted answered was why did this particular story reduce me to a shuddering fetal ball?
In the Muslim world, I read with boring regularity, “honor” killings of young women are numbingly routine, girls who simply want go to school are disfigured by having acid thrown in their faces, and rape victims are condemned to death and publicly executed. Equally grotesque types of stories emerge from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia with grim routine as well. Though disgusted and even enraged by such reports, they don’t drive me to tears. Why not?
Do you see why I’m becoming disturbed by the questions I’m asking myself? Will you understand if I’m reluctant to share my answers, and would rather that you simply ask yourself the same?
Another problem I have is this: Philosophically, I simply don’t think a person is a fully mature political entity until they’ve evolved into some form of libertarian. Like most, I reckon, I started out life as a liberal, evolved into a conservative, and then morphed into a libertarian. My views on the death penalty have followed suit: I was against it before I was for it, but now I’m against it again. Ultimately, I just don’t think a nation state should be in the business of executing its citizens, regardless of their crimes, because there is an absolute zero chance that capital punishment will be applied fairly, because human beings are involved.
So, you can understand my disappointment in myself when I tell you that I would honestly and sincerely like to execute these two monsters myself, personally.
How can our culture produce these utterly abominable kinds people? People devoid of all decency and conscience, seemingly oblivious to the rights of the most vulnerable in their midst?
“Trenor told police she and Riley moved from Mentor, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, to Spring, a suburb north of Houston, in June 2007 to be with Zeigler after she met him playing the online video game World of Warcraft.”
Far be it from me to issue a blanket condemnation of WoW – I haven’t played any kind of video game since I made it a mission in life to defeat Battle Chess on every skill level (Which I did, thank you very much) – because the world isn’t exactly rife with WoW players beating babies to death, and so there must be much more to it…
… and so the disturbing questions continue.
I don’t expect to have all, or even many, of these questions answered satisfactorily – such a thing seems far beyond the realm of possibility – so I’ll just have to take it as a plus to my overall humanity that I’m bothering to ask them of myself.