Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

May 24, 2006

Guilty: Kayla Wright sentenced to life

CORDELE — It was an emotional day in the courtroom in the murder trial of Kayla Wright as jurors deliberated just two hours before returning guilty verdicts on all four counts in which she was charged.

During the morning session of court, jurors heard from defense witnesses Dr. Patricia Coussens, an obstetrician and gynecologist from Hawkinsville who was Wright’s doctor with her first pregnancy, and Dr. Sule Salami, a Cordele obstetrician and gynecologist who reviewed Wright’s medical records and evidence in the case.

Both said when questioned by defense attorney Sam Dennis, that the X-ray of infant baby girl Wright showed classic signs of Spalding Sign. Both said Spalding Sign occurs when the baby dies in utero or while still inside the mother, because of compression caused during the birthing process. The compression causes the child’s sutures (skull bones) to overlap because of pressure and the fact that the brain has started to liquefy as a result of fetal demise.

Both also testified that Wright could’ve experienced a placental abruption which is where the placenta tears away from the uterine wall, but prosecutor Barbara Becraft rebutted their testimony saying they weren’t privy to any details of Wright’s pregnancy and could not say with any certainty that she experienced such a condition.

After their testimony, the defense rested as their client waived her right to testify.

After recessing for lunch, closing arguments began with the defense presenting its side first.

Dennis opened by saying the defense had proven its case without a reasonable doubt and that the baby had died in utero. He also said investigators B. Queener of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Tammera Sears of the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office had used improper interrogation techniques, therefore creating a coerced compliant false statement.

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