MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Geralyn Graham was described as a dominating woman who would punish the young foster girl they cared for by keeping her in the laundry room for days at a time, according to testimony by her former lover and live-in partner Pamela Graham.
“It would differ anywhere from a day to two to three days,” Pamela Graham, 48, said who testified against Geralyn Graham, 66, as part of the term of a plea deal.
On day 12 of a murder trial that centers on the disappearance of foster child Rilya Wilson who disappeared more than 10 years ago, the state’s main witness testified against Geralyn Graham.
At times, Pamela Graham fought back tears as she recalled the abuse Rilya endured at the hands of Geralyn Graham. Pamela repeatedly told jurors she did nothing to prevent it because she was under Graham’s control and feared arguing with her.
Once she came home and found that 4-year-old Rilya had suffered burns to her face.
“She was somehow messing around with the water heater and that’s how it happened,” Pamela told jurors.
In April of 2002, authorities officially declared Rilya Wilson a missing child. But Pamela testified that on a day in mid-December of 2000, she came home to find Rilya missing. When Pamela asked Geralyn Graham about the child’s whereabouts, Geralyn didn’t offer an explanation.
“She told me she wasn’t there and she wasn’t coming back and that I wasn’t going to see her anymore,” testified Graham.
In the days that followed, Pamela said she listened as Geralyn told friends and neighbors varying stories about Rilya’s whereabouts including stories that she had gone on a trip with an unknown woman or that Rilya had returned with her birth mother. They agreed they would tell authorities that an unknown Department of Children and Families worker had taken Rilya back.
Pamela Graham testified that she and Geralyn were lovers. Graham said Geralyn was “very controlling and had a very dominant personality.”
Graham said they lied to Department of Children and Families starting when they were getting Rodericka, Rilya’s sister, as an infant as a foster child. She said they told DCF that she and Geralyn were sisters and that Geralyn Graham told a caseworker her father was the Prime Minister of the Bahamas. All of which were lies.
Meanwhile, Rilya’s body has never been found. However, several prison inmates who spent time with Geralyn Graham are expected to testify that Graham confessed to them that she had killed Rilya.
Last week, the state spent their time introducing a string of witnesses who portrayed Geralyn Graham as a habitual liar.
Detective Christopher Stroze testified that in an interview with Graham, she told him she was the biological grandmother of Wilson. Stroze would later learn that was a lie. The interview was conducted just days after it was learned that Rilya had been missing for at least 15 months.
Stroze said a confident Geralyn Graham readily agreed to be interviewed.
“She stated that if I could prove she was lying about anything she was talking about, then she was lying about everything,” Stroze said.
The defense stressed the scores of possible sightings of Rilya that came in from around the nation, and even other countries, suggesting being that Rilya may indeed still be alive. The detective countered that every possible sighting was followed up on and led nowhere.
Graham was charged with murder in 2005 after several jailhouse snitches said she told them she killed Rilya because the girl was evil and a “slut.” Graham was in jail at the time on fraud charges.
Graham faces life in prison if convicted.