Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jury to deliberate death of girl bitten by alligators


Harrel Braddy is a cold-hearted murderer who left a five-year-old in the Everglades to be killed by alligators so she wouldn't be able to tell police what he had done to her mother, a prosecutor told the jury today.
Assistant State Attorney Abbe Rifkin asked the jury to consider Quatisha Maycock's final moments.

''You're five.... You're hurt. You're alone. It's dark,'' she said.

Braddy had already left Quatisha Maycock's mother, Shandelle, for dead in a sugarcane field after choking her repeatedly, Rifkin said during her closing argument in Braddy's murder trial. She reminded jurors that Shandelle Maycock said she tried to escape and save the child by jumping out of Braddy's moving car and asked them: ``how desperate would you have to be to jump out of a moving car with your child?''

Given that, and the evidence that Quatisha Maycock was still alive when alligators bit her on the head and stomach, Rifkin urged the jury to convict Braddy of kidnapping mother and child, trying to murder Shandelle and murdering Quatisha.

But Braddy's attorney, G.P. Della Fera, offered an alternative theory to explain the child's death.

He blamed her mother. The fatal blow came when Shandelle Maycock jumped out of Braddy's moving car.

''Quatisha Maycock suffered an injury and died as a result of flying out of a car and hitting her head on Ives Dairy Road,'' he said. ``It's up to you to decide whether Mr. Braddy is responsible for that.''

Jurors have spent more than a week listening to testimony in the case and were expected to begin deliberations this afternoon.

Maycock testified last week that Braddy, a friend from church, flew into a rage in her apartment one night back in 1998 when she asked him to leave. She said he told her that she had used him and twice choked her until she passed out.

The second time, she awoke in the back seat of Braddy's car with her daughter in the front seat.

She said she grabbed her daughter and jumped out of Braddy's car in a desperate attempt the save the child.

When Braddy pulled over to get the two of them, Maycock said her daughter was hurt from the fall from the car, but was able to walk. Braddy put the little girl in the front seat and shoved Maycock into the trunk. She never saw her daughter alive again.

If jurors convict Braddy of first degree murder, the trial will move to the penalty phase. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Braddy, a felon with a lengthy record that includes convictions for escape and attempted murder.

The trial has been delayed for nearly nine years because Braddy has fired a series of court-appointed attorneys and even briefly represented himself.

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